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City man jailed on child porn charges

Police confiscate computers, other items at home of 31-year-old Jacob Mertz.


WILKES-BARRE – A 31-year-old Wilkes-Barre man was arrested Tuesday afternoon on child pornography charges.

Jacob Mertz, of Garnet Lane, was charged with 70 counts each of sexual abuse of children and criminal use of a communication facility. He was arraigned before District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre and jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility until he posted $30,000 bail about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Detective Joseph Bitzer and Officer Kirk Merchel:

Two women whom Mertz know were inside his home using his computer on Jan. 1 when they came across a folder marked, “my stuff,” that contained 200 files of child pornography.

One of the files was a 45-second movie clip of a young girl having sexual relations with an older man.

When the women confronted Mertz, he denied that the files belonged to him and that anyone could send files to his computer.

One of the women found compact discs inside Mertz’s home that were suspiciously titled. She placed them in a plastic bag and confronted Mertz.

Mertz became angry and broke several of the CDs and threw them in a garbage can, leaving some CDs unbroken inside his home.

The woman also found a sexually explicit Web site on Mertz’s laptop computer showing underage females engaged in sexual acts with older men, the criminal complaint says.

Police interviewed the two women on Feb. 20 after a domestic dispute at Mertz’s home.

A police officer stayed at Mertz’s residence while a search warrant was obtained from a district judge.

Police said they seized two computer towers, a notebook computer and several other items from Mertz’s home.

A forensic examination of the computers by the state police computer crime task force showed numerous suspected child pornography images and movies on the notebook computer and two computer towers, the criminal complaint says.

A physician with a local child advocacy center reviewed the images and determined that there were 63 images and seven movie clips of child pornography, police said.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 2 in Central Court.

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