After a Thursday morning preliminary hearing in Lansdale, Timothy Paul Sell, 37, of an apartment on the 100 block of East Main Street, Lansdale, heads to trial in Montgomery County Court on 201 child sex abuse crimes committed via the Internet.
Sell's bail was changed from 10 percent of $50,000 cash to $50,000 unsecured. Sell is free on bail.
As part of his bail conditions, Sell cannot use or possess a computer or any electronic communication device, including a cell phone, and he cannot have contact with minors, according to District Judge Harold Borek.
A formal arraignment is set for Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m.
"He is waiving all the charges and he's been in jail for a month," said Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Jordan Friter, on why bail was changed for Sell. "Appropriate conditions are there to make sure the safety and security of the community are in place."
Sell was arrested and charged by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Computer Crime Unit with 201 third-degree felony child sex abuse offenses, for allegedly sharing more than 3,000 child pornography videos on a BitTorrent site between October 22, 2012 and December 19, 2012.
According to court records, Sell is charged with the following:
- 100 counts of Disseminating Photography/Film of Child Sex Acts
- 100 counts of Child Pornography
- 1 count of Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
Here's the story behind Sell's arrest:
According to a criminal affidavit, on Oct. 22, 2012, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper D. Matthew Powell was conducting an investigation of persons using the Internet to obtain and disseminate sexually-explicit photos and videos of children. Powell used software to connect to the BitTorrent network.
Powll located a computer connected to the network sharing files depicting child pornography, according to the affidavit.
The download process encompassed the period between Oct. 22, 2012 at 9:37 p.m. to Nov. 2, 2012, at 11:10 a.m., according to the affidavit.
Powell downloaded a 33 minute, 52 second video file, depicting a girl between seven and 10 years old engaged in various sexual activities.
Powell was able to download 170 files from the computer system, according to the affidavit.
Police determined the IP address for the computer system was a Verizon FiOS subscriber, identified as Sell, according to the affidavit.
On Nov. 13, 2012, Powell conducted another investigation of persons using the Internet to obtain and disseminate sexually-explicit photos of children.
Powell found the same IP address sharing files on the BitTorrent network, according to the affidavit.
The download process encompassed a timespan between Nov. 13 at 3:09 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 3:18 p.m., according to the affidavit.
Powell downloaded a 5 minute 53 second video of a four or five-year-old girl engaged in various sexual acts with an adult male, according to the affidavit.
Powell was able to download 2,900 files from the computer system between Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, according to the affidavit.
A search warrant was issued and executed on Sell's apartment on Dec. 19 at 6:12 a.m. by members of Lansdale Police and the Pennsylvania State Police Computer Crime Unit.
Police knocked on the downstairs door, and we let in by a resident, according to the complaint.
Three male subjects were found on the second floor of the residence, including Sell, police said. Each male subject rented a room at the residence.
Sell was in the bathroom of the residence, police said. When asked, he identified the front room as his room, police said.
Sell was given a copy of the search warrant, police said. Sell told police he locks the door to his room when he is not home, police said. The two other male residents were interviewed and told police they either did not own a computer or have not searched nor seen any files depicting child pornography, police said.
An HP Pavilion laptop computer was found on and running in Sell's room, police said. Police said the laptop had Vuze software running on it and was actively downloading files.
Three files being downloaded involved and were named for children engaged in sexual acts, according to the affidavit.
On Dec. 19, a forensic preview examination was conducted on the laptop computer, and files were located depicting child pornography, police said. Police marked and extracted 10 files that depicted child pornography.