CHARLESTON - A former Ripley police officer was sentenced Monday to federal prison on a child pornography charge involving a 16-year-old minor.
George Michael Puskas II, of Ripley appeared Monday before U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. in Charleston and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release on the child pornography offense, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.
Puskas, a former police officer in Ripley, pleaded guilty in July to possession of child pornography.
According to court records, in March 2010, Puskas, 31, established a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old minor. At the time of the relationship, Puskas produced images and a video of the minor having sex or performing sex acts, officials said.
Puskas produced a video of child pornography using a police department-issued digital camera. He also used a cell phone to create images of child pornography, federal officials said. On Sept. 7, 2011, Puskas possessed between 10 and 150 images of child pornography, Goodwin said.
Puskas told police he maintained a relationship with the minor up until the time the individual turned 18 years old. On Sept. 14, 2011, Puskas sent the individual an image that showed the two of them having sex, federal officials said.
On April 6, 2012, the West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed a federal search warrant and seized a computer, a flash drive and other items that Puskas used to produce child pornography. Puskas told police he produced and possessed images of child pornography, officials said.
Puskas, who was an officer with the department at the time he committed the federal felony, resigned from the Ripley Police Department in May 2012.
Upon completion of his prison term, Puskas will be placed on supervised release for 10 years. In addition, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Johnston handled the prosecution.
The case was prosecuted as part of Goodwin's ongoing initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse in the Southern District of West Virginia, he said.