(STL.News) – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Jerry Zweitzig, 71, of Hatboro, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty to charges of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography. These charges arose from the defendant’s sexual abuse of an infant and his videotaping of that abuse.
Investigators found the video of the infant, which was created in 2010, while preparing for Zweitzig’s sentencing hearing in a separate child exploitation case filed by this Office. In that previous case, Zweitzig was charged in May 2019 with five counts of manufacturing and attempted manufacturing of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. Those charges arose from the defendant’s sexual exploitation of a different child over a period of years, his photographing and videotaping of his sexual abuse of that child, and his extensive collection of child pornography involving thousands of other children. Zweitzig pleaded guilty to all of those counts in October 2019.
On June 16, 2020, the defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on both cases by United States District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 200 years’ imprisonment, a mandatory minimum term of 15 years, between five years and a lifetime of supervised release, a $1,750,000 fine, mandatory restitution, and a $700 special assessment.
“Sexual exploitation of a minor of any age, let alone an infant, is utterly reprehensible and will be met with swift justice,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Because of the excellent forensic work by our partners at Homeland Security Investigations, we uncovered this additional crime, ensuring that the defendant will now be held accountable for his actions. Working with all of our law enforcement partners, my Office will continue to identify and punish sexual predators to protect our children and our communities.”
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is committed to protecting the children and youth of our communities who are most vulnerable to online predators,” said Brian A. Michael, Special Agent in Charge for HSI Philadelphia. “When a criminal places a record of that abuse online or in other public forums, the abuse continues and can resurface throughout the victim’s life. HSI and our law enforcement partners are committed to finding, and bringing to justice, those who exploit children.”
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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (“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.