An investigation into child pornography that began in Germany ended with a North Whitehall Township man admitting Friday that he filmed two children engaging in sexually explicit conduct and shared the images on the Internet.
Timothy W. Strobl, 29, of 2596 Prince Drive in the Highland Heights development, faces up to 60 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of production of child pornography. He also admitted to having 20,000 images of child porn.
Strobl was indicted in June after an investigation that began when the German Federal Police alerted U.S. officials in 2007 that someone from the United States was offering pornographic images of children online. All of the children were under 6 years old.
The German police searched one particular peer-to-peer file-sharing network and found several Internet Protocol addresses associated with Internet providers in the United States.
Agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement met with their German counterparts and investigated, eventually tracing the files to a computer in the Lehigh Valley.
Immigration agents issued a subpoena in 2008 to PenTeleData, the Internet provider for the Internet Protocol address that was tracked to the home where Strobl lives with his parents.
Federal agents raided Strobl's home in February and found three computers, three hard drives, two cameras and voluminous images of child porn.
In an interview with agents, Strobl said he had filmed and photographed several children, some only 3 years old, and uploaded the films and photos to a file-sharing network accessed by others interested in child porn, according to court files.
Prosecutors said Strobl filmed and took pictures of the children at an unidentified home in Nazareth. Some were in a bathtub, while others were on a bed or floor. Strobl shared more than 600 images online in 2006 and 2007, prosecutors said.
Strobl also admitted he had been collecting porn for more than 12 years.
He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and also agreed to five years' supervised release and payment of $500,000 in fines.
Strobl is scheduled to be sentenced in November in Philadelphia.
No one was at the Strobl home Friday afternoon. The stone-sided rancher sits at the end of the quiet development in North Whitehall.
His neighbors didn't want to talk about Strobl, some because they didn't know him and one because he didn't feel it would be right to talk about the case without knowing all the facts.
Court records show Strobl had only been charged with traffic violations before he was hit with the federal charges.