New York man caught trading child pornography had over 800 explicit images on his phone

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A New York resident caught trading child pornography admitted to the FBI that he had over 800 images and other explicit content in a hidden folder on his phone after an investigation found he used encrypted messaging and voice applications to trade the material. 

Paul J. Mignacca, a 45-year-old suspect from Syracuse, was charged with distribution and possession of child pornography last week. After obtaining a warrant, the FBI joined other law enforcement agencies in searching Mignacca’s car and home last week. 

Citing a complaint filed in the U.S. Northern District Court of New York, reported that Mignacca admitted to trading sexually explicit content in a conversation with law enforcement outside of his work. The suspect showed authorities the application he used to trade the materials on his phone. 

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In September, FBI agents joined the voice application Mignacca used to trade images, and they observed a user named PJM upload three videos to the chat, according to the report. The FBI identified Mignacca as PJM after it subpoenaed T-Mobile for the phone number associated with the account. 

During an interview last week at the Syracuse FBI office, the man showed the agents the hidden folder on his phone where he kept the child pornography materials and how he traded them. The hidden folder contained 839 images and two videos, according to the report. 

The news of Mignacca’s arrest comes a few weeks after Florida teacher Steven Houser was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

A resident of New Port Richey, the 67-year-old was accused last month of using children’s yearbook photos to create erotic materials and sexually explicit content through artificial intelligence.

According to a statement last month by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation into the Florida teacher began after the office received an anonymous tip. The authorities found that Houser, who worked as a third-grade science teacher at Beacon Christian Academy, possessed two photos and three videos featuring child pornography.

The sheriff’s office reported that the child pornography did not feature any students at the school. The investigation did find that Houser possessed child erotica generated by an AI computer program, which the teacher admitted he created by using yearbook photos. 

Court records reveal that Houser was held at the Land O’ Lakes Jail on $100,000 bail for each of the five felony counts of child pornography possession. If the science teacher is convicted of committing a felony in the third degree, he could face up to a decade in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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