A Burnettown man, currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for child molestation, is now pleading guilty to one of the child pornography charges that saw him first investigated.
Robert Vernon Patnoude, 27, is an Indiana native who, before his arrest, lived on Carline Road in Burnettown.
He has signed a plea agreement admitting one count of possession of child pornography for incidents that allegedly occurred in November 2010 and March 2011, according to federal court documents.
On Nov. 20, Patnoude, who currently has a projected release date of March 7, 2051, signed the guilty plea, admitting the charge.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Lea Schoen signed the agreement Monday, and it was filed with the court.
The boiler plate agreement is changed significantly by the crossing out of almost all of the “Cooperation and Forfeiture” section. The final paragraphs related to forfeiture are left in place, but the sections on cooperation and being forthright about all knowledge of criminal behavior are scored through and initialed by Schoen.
The section that states the defendant will have to take a polygraph – or lie detector test – have also been crossed out.
On June 23, 2011, Patnoude pleaded guilty to six indictments for criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 11 and admitted to sexually assaulting two 7-year-old boys, fondling the children, performing oral sex on them and ordering them to perform oral sex on him.
The sexual assault, charged in General Sessions indictments, occurred between the fall of 2010 and the time of his arrest in March 2011.
Law enforcement officials first learned of Patnoude's activities by searching a neighboring house because they believed child pornography was being downloaded through the neighboring home's IP address, according to court testimony during Patnoude's plea hearing in June 2011.
After entering the neighbor's home, authorities learned that Patnoude was the one downloading the child porn while using the neighbor's Internet connection, without their knowledge.
During the plea hearing, Patnoude admitted downloading the illegal material and that he had been molesting the two boys, who were 6 and 7 at the time of the assault, and that he had photos of himself involved in sexual acts with the two children.
At the time of the plea hearing, Patnoude maintained that he had not disseminated photos of the two boys. The more-serious federal charge of distribution of child pornography will be dropped with these charges.