MINNEAPOLIS – United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger this week announced a criminal complaint charging SEAN PENONCELLO, 21, with production of child pornography.1 PENONCELLO was ordered detained pending trial after a hearing today before Magistrate Judge Brisbois in United States District Court in Duluth, Minn.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, on April 3, 2014, in an unrelated investigation, thousands of images and hundreds of videos depicting child pornography were recovered from two computers at the home of an unrelated defendant in Dayton, Ohio. The images and videos were submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which, in a subsequent report, identified three nude images of an unidentified minor. The NCMEC assigned a name to this series of images for identification in future cases.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, the photos from this named series were taken on or around September 15, 2012, at a residential address belonging to PENONCELLO. Several images were discovered on PENONCELLO’s iPhone, which included images and videos of a couch that appeared to be an exact match to the couch in the named series depicting the unidentified minor.
According to the complaint and documents filed in court, two minor children and a parent visited PENONCELLO several times at his home, located in a rural area near Cherry, Minn. On September 15, 2012, during a visit to PENONCELLO’S house, the two children were left alone at the house with PENONCELLO. One of those children is the subject of the named NCMEC series referenced above. PANONCELLO is alleged to have taken the sexually explicit photographs.