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National child predator group helps police arrest Beaver County man

A national organization that pursues child predators across the country worked with Cranberry Township police in the arrest of a Beaver County man on child pornography charges.

John D. Lefler, 46, of Freedom, was charged Thursday, June 20, with a felony charge of child pornography after a May 27 intervention in the parking lot of the Cranberry Mall on Route 19, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by police.

Predator Poachers and police approached Lefler in the parking lot, police said.

Predator Poachers is a group of independent journalists and private citizens who travel the country conducting intervention-style sting operations to catch child predators, according to its website.

Lefler admitted to police that he had viewed and exchanged child pornography with others online, and said he had 30 or 40 child pornography images involving children between 5 and 17 years old stored in his cellphone, police said.

After he allowed police to search his phone, an investigator found 288 images and 144 videos of children under 18 years old engaged in prohibited sexual acts or simulations of those acts, police said.

Some of the images showed violent acts of rape involving children, including some less than 10 years old, police said.

Lefler told investigators he obtained the images through the Telegram phone application, police said.

He was released on unsecured $25,000 bail. His preliminary hearing before District Judge Kevin Flaherty is scheduled for July 26.

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