By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
JACKSON TOWNSHIP —
A Jackson Township man accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl and possession of child pornographic images on his computer pleaded guilty Monday to four charges.
Travis J. Cook, 22, of 1719 Springfield Church Road, pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault, possession of 28 images of child pornography, indecent assault amd criminal use of a computer.
Cook will be evaluated by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator, a designation that will factor into his reporting and counseling requirements.
Statutory sexual assault is a second-degree felony punishable up to 5 to 10 years in prison. The child porn and criminal use charges and third-degree felonies carries a maximum sentence of 3è to 7 years. The indecent assault charge, a second-degree misdemeanor, is subject to a max of 1 to 2 years in prison.
The sentencing judge will have the discretion to order him to serve the sentences together, one after the other, or a combination of the two.
Agents with the state Attorney Generals Office said Google reported March 15 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a gmail user had uploaded images of suspected child pornography on March 3.
A detective with the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, who is assigned to the High Tech Crime Task Force, viewed the images and determined that they appeared to show children with their genitals exposed and/or engaging in sex acts, police said.
The detective obtained court orders for information that resulted in her identifying the internet provider address registered to someone at Cook’s home address, police said.
On May 1, the detective turned over information to the Attorney General’s office.
Further records checks identified Cook as owner of the gmail address, police said.
On Aug. 1., agents and state police searched Cook’s home and seized three cellular telephones, two tablet computers and an iPod, police said.
Cook’s 16-year-old girlfriend – he lives with the girl and her grandparents – told police she met Cook when she was 13 and they started having sex when she was 15, police said. She became pregnant with Cook’s child and gave birth in April, police said.
Cook confirmed the girl’s story, police said.
Cook also admitted searching the internet for pornography and having viewed child pornography, using certain search terms, police said.