WILLIAMSPORT – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Marc Punzalan, age 24, of Rockville, Maryland, was indicted on May 24, 2018, by a federal grand jury on one count of stalking and one count of the attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges that in June 2013, Punzalan used an internet messaging service to harass and intimidate a 13-year-old female in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, causing her substantial emotional distress and resulting in her death. The indictment also alleges that Punzalan attempted to persuade, entice and induce the minor female to engage in sexually explicit conduct using a video web camera.
The case was investigated by the South Williamsport Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Geoffrey W. MacArthur is prosecuting the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Punzalan faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a potential 30-year maximum sentence for the attempted sexual exploitation of a child, and up to life imprisonment for cyberstalking the victim. The maximum possible fine for these offenses is $250,000. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.