Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to multiple counts of receiving
child pornography, accessing with intent to view child pornography, and
possessing child pornography depicting prepubescent minors and minors
under the age of 12.
According to court documents, Robert Costello, 53,
of Bethlehem, who was employed by the New York City Department of
Probation as an assistant commissioner at the time of the offenses in
2020, used an online app to discuss the sexual abuse of children and to
receive images of child sexual abuse, and stored images and videos of
child sexual abuse on his electronic devices.
Costello is scheduled to be sentenced on July 15,
and faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a statutory
maximum of 90 years in prison. He also faces mandatory restitution. A
federal district court judge will determine the sentence after
considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas M.
McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S.
Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania; and Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Michael of Homeland
Security Investigations (HSI) in Philadelphia made the announcement.
HSI Philadelphia is investigating the case and received assistance from the Bethlehem Township Police Department.
Trial Attorney Jessica Urban of the Criminal
Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant
U.S. Attorneys Francis Weber and Kelly Harrell of the Eastern District
of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe
Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of
child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the
Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project
Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better
locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the
internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more
information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.