Friday, August 13, 2021

Pine Grove Business Owner Charged with Possessing Child Pornography

A businessman from Pine Grove was taken into custody yesterday and charged by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office with possessing child pornography.

According to court documents, Michael Barto, 57, of Pine Grove was taken into custody by state officials and Pine Grove police on Thursday morning after a tip was received that he was storing pictures and videos of child pornography on the internet.

In early April, the tip was reported to CyperTipline in relation to a user that uploaded at least 2 videos of apparent child pornography to the file sharing platform Dropbox.  

The court documents allege that an investigation revealed Barto had used the internet for his business, Branch Homes, to upload the child pornography involving girls ages 13-15, and possibly younger.

On Thursday, officials served a search warrant at Barto's home where 11 videos that depicted child pornography were found on his computer.

During questioning, Barto admitted to downloading the videos and even watching them as recently as a few days prior.

As a result, Barto was taken into custody and charged with 11 felony counts of sexual abuse of children related to possession of child pornography, and 1 felony count of criminal use of a communication facility.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge David J. Rossi who locked him up in Schuylkill County Prison on $75,000 straight cash bail.

Arrest Photo Courtesy of Fox56