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A former McKeesport man has pleaded guilty to charges that he attempted to coerce at least two children into sexual activity.
Scott J. Payne, 32, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity and possession of child pornography, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady.
Payne also accepted responsibility for two additional counts of coercion and three counts of production of images depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor.
At the time of his arrest, Payne was already on probation in connection with a previous conviction on child pornography charges.
He faces from 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, Brady said in a statement.
Court records indicate that Payne is being held in Indiana County Prison pending sentencing Feb. 20.
Federal prosecutors said that in June 2017, Payne pretended to be a teen-aged girl and used the "KIK" mobile phone app to persuade a 12-year-old boy to share photos and videos of sex acts.
Prosecutors also allege that Payne engaged in similar communications with a 15-year-old boy in New Jersey and a 16-year-old boy in Louisiana. When police and federal agents searched his home on June 19, 2017, prosecutors allege they found sexually explicit photos and videos of three victims.
Court records indicate that Payne was charged by the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office in 2010 with possession and dissemination of child pornography in connection with two incidents that happened in July 2008. He pleaded guilty to two counts and was placed on seven years' probation and added to the Megan's Law child offender registry, court records indicate.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting the new case on behalf of the government. The FBI, Western Pennsylvania Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bloomfield, N.J., police department conducted the investigation, Brady's spokeswoman said.
Originally published September 19, 2019.