The investigation into this defendant lead to the arrest of a Villanova University spiritual leader and West Chester University student
PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Justyn Perez-Colon, 27, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to 55 years in prison, and lifetime supervised release by United States District Judge E.K. Pratter for his sexual abuse and exploitation of two young toddlers in his care, his production and distribution of child pornography involving those same toddlers, and his collection of hundreds of images of child pornography that he obtained from the internet. At the time he committed these federal crimes, the defendant was a recidivist child sex offender, having previously sexually abused a young family member for more than eight years, beginning when the child was just seven years of age.
In September 2019, the defendant pleaded guilty to a federal Indictment, which charged him with two counts of production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, five counts of attempted distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
This federal investigation began in February 2018, when Perez-Colon posted an advertisement on Craigslist seeking to connect with other child sex offenders to trade stories and child pornography. An undercover FBI agent responded to his posting. During their communications over the next few days, the defendant admitted to sexually abusing a young family member for years, and also confessed that he was currently sexually abusing a young girl in his care. The defendant sent photographs and video of him sexually abusing the one-year old girl, including images of his horrific abuse of this child was she was sleeping.
On February 14, 2018, within 24-hours of receiving the pornographic images of Perez-Colon’s abuse of the child, the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified and arrested him. His cell phone was also seized and examined, and found to contain additional videos of Perez-Colon sexually abusing the 1-year-old girl, in addition to evidence that he was also sexually exploiting a different toddler with whom the defendant had a personal relationship.
The subsequent investigation by the FBI revealed that the defendant not only sexually abused and exploited the two toddler victims, but he also distributed their images and videos out over the Internet to other child sex offenders for their sexual gratification. The FBI identified Timothy O’Connell, a Villanova University Campus Minister, and Michael Meacham, a West Chester University student, both of whom communicated online with the defendant, and requested and received sexually explicit images from him. Both of these child sex offenders were prosecuted and pleaded guilty to federal charges of receipt of child pornography. O’Connell was sentenced in November 2019 to 6 ½ years in prison. Meacham is awaiting the imposition of his sentence.
In September 2019, defendant Perez-Colon pleaded guilty to the federal Indictment, which charged him with two counts of production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, five counts of attempted distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.
“Child pornography and exploitation offenses are among the most horrific crimes prosecuted by this Office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “But this case is particularly disturbing due to Perez-Colon’s history as a previously convicted sex offender and the very young ages of his victims. I have no doubt that our community is safer with Perez-Colon and his criminal associates behind bars, and my heartfelt thanks goes out to the fast-acting agents at the FBI who worked quickly to identify and arrest the defendant so he could no longer hurt anyone else.”
“The criminal acts to which Justyn Perez-Colon admitted are stomach-churning,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He sexually abused two toddlers, documenting and sharing images of that exploitation. It was imperative that the FBI swiftly take him off the street. Unequivocally, our community is safer with Perez-Colon behind bars, locked away where he can’t victimize anyone else’s child.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Horsham Police Department and the Philadelphia Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Priya T. De Souza.