2 men charged in multi-state cyber porn sting

COURTESY PHOTO Todd Murray, 55, of McKeesport, Pennsylvania,

NEWBURY – Men in New Jersey and Pennsylvania face online child pornography charges after being arrested in undercover sting operations run by Newbury and Salisbury police. 

Todd Murray, 55, of 319 San Juan Drive, No. 2, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with two counts of providing obscene matter to a minor, one count of dissemination of obscene matter and one count of distributing material depicting a child in a sexual act. 

Matthew Settele, 42, 451 Heckman St., No. 343, Philipsburg, New Jersey, also was arrested and charged with providing obscene matter to a minor (19 counts) and a single count of dissemination of obscene matter. Of those 19 charges, 13 were filed by Newbury police and six by Salisbury police. 

Both men were previously charged with similar offenses by police in their home states and will remain there until their cases are resolved, according to Newbury police. 

In the case against Murray, the former bus driver was arrested on April 1 and bail set at $100,000, according to Allegheny County Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro said Murray had online communications with an undercover Newbury Police Department detective posing as a 14-year-old girl. The messages from Murray quickly turned sexual, and Murray said he would have to take a road trip to Massachusetts to see the child for illicit sexual conduct. Murray also sent two obscene images to the undercover detective, Shapiro said in a press release.

Once the detective determined Murray lived in Pennsylvania, the case was referred to the Pennsylvania AG's Office. 

Shapiro said Murray worked as a part-time bus driver for Pennsylvania Coach Lines, Inc., where he drove minors and their coaches to sporting events, along with other services.

“The defendant had exposure to children through his work as a bus driver and was entrusted to keep them safe. Instead, he betrayed that trust and preyed on minors online," Shapiro said. 

Posing as an under-aged girl on Facebook, Newbury police Detective Sgt. Aaron Wojtkowski received a friend request from Murray in late October 2018. The two began chatting and as the days passed Murray revealed his job as a bus driver, then sent Wojtkowski a lewd photo of a sex act involving a 16-year-old girl. Murray later sent Wojtkowski another photo of the same girl naked. 

Murray also told Wojtkowski that he wanted to meet in Massachusetts but didn't have the money, the complaint states.  

Wojtkowski obtained a subpoena which gave him access to Murray's Facebook account. By tracking down Murray's phone number, Wojtkowski was able to obtain his full name and address, according to the complaint filed in Allegheny County. 

In the New Jersey case, Settele was as arrested last week by Philipsburg police, with assistance from Massachusetts detectives after he was served a search warrant at his home.

Like Murray, Settele was under the belief he was chatting with under-aged children but instead was chatting with Newbury and Salisbury police detectives. 

According to Wojtkowski, the investigation began on Feb. 28 and culminated last week when New Jersey police obtained a search warrant for his home. Wojtkowski was among those serving the warrant. 

Police allege that while using a popular social media website, Settele contacted what he believed to be children under age 18 "for the purpose of illicit sexual activity, and for the solicitation and transmission of illicit sexual images, the release said. He also was charged by investigators with the Warren County, New Jersey, Prosecutors Office with possession of child pornography after police searched his home.

Salisbury police Detective Keith Forget worked with Wojtkowski on the Settlele case. Both men are assigned to the Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. They received help from the Warren County Prosecutors Office, Department of Homeland Security personnel and the Philipsburg Police Department.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

 

 

 

 

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