Six men were charged today in a lurid sex-abuse ring that reached from Montgomery County more than halfway across the country to Oklahoma.
Each of the men exchanged nude videos over the Internet or engaged in sex acts with a 14-year-old boy identified as Victim No. 1 at a variety of locations in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, according to court papers.
The investigation was launched when the boy's parents found "inappropriate material" on the boy's electronic devices in October and notified Limerick Township police, said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
"This is the type of case where there is significant potential for other abuse victims," said Ferman. "We encourage anyone who might know of other victims to contact us immediately."
Federal prosecutors filed additional charges against four of the men Apr. 23.
At least five additional underage victims were allegedly targeted by one of the men, according to the District Attorney's office. Matthew Krapf, 43, of Collegeville, was arrested Nov. 2 as he departed his home to allegedly meet Victim No. 1 for sex. A search of Krapf's home turned up thousands of images and videos of child pornography, many of which Krapf allegedly produced himself, Ferman said.
Investigators found evidence of Krapf having sex with four other young teens and exchanging images with a fifth going back to 2005. Krapf was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, and a myriad of child pornography counts. On Jan. 23, federal prosecutors also charged Krapf on a slew of child porn counts. Krapf is being held on $1 million bail.
Jason "Scotty' Becktold, 42, of Oklahoma City, another member of the ring, allegedly coerced Victim No. 1 to conceal a camera in the victim's school locker room to record other boys in various states of undress. In addition, Becktold allegedly sent Victim No. 1 underwear through the mail and directed him to make sexually explicit images for him, according to the indictment on federal charges. He was arrested Feb. 3 in Oklahoma, according to a federal indictment.
Christopher Steele, 33, of New Castle, Del., was arrested Dec. 13. Steele allegedly traveled to Montgomery County to have sex with Victim No. 1. Investigators allegedly found numerous images of child porn on Steele's computer and cell phone, according to Ferman. He is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, disseminating explicit material to a minor, corruption of a minor and other counts. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Paul Gavin Britton, 45, of Dover, Del., was arrested Jan. 10 at his home in Delaware. Investigators said he also traveled to have sex with Victim No. 1. Britton, who was in a long-term relationship with Steele, committed suicide Feb. 6, prosecutors said.
Mark "Wilco" Wilczopolski, 22, of Birdsboro, allegedly exchanged nude images and videos with Victim No. 1. He was arrested in February, charged with disseminating explicit materials and other counts and indicted this week on federal charges. Glenn Kriczky, 58, of Birdsboro, also exchanged images and videos with Victim No. 1 and was charged similarly and released after posting $10,000 bail.
"The greatest responsibility of law enforcement is to protect our most vulnerable citizens," said Ferman. "Keeping children safe is our number one priority.
"This case highlights the dangers our children face when communicating with strangers online. An unfortunate reality of our world is there are adults willing to manipulate and exploit vulnerable youth for their own base motives."