PA man found guilty of federal child sex charges out of Harrison County

Crime

Mark Sassak

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A Pennsylvania man was found guilty Thursday of federal sex charges involving a minor, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.

Mark Sassak

After a three-day trial, Mark Sassak, 37 of Monessen, Pa., was found guilty of one count of “Travel to Engage in Sexual Activity with a Minor” and one count of “Possession of Child Pornography.” Sassak began talking with who he believed to be a 15-year-old female through a social media app. That conversation continued through text messages on his cell phone for several weeks. Sassak then asked for an in-person meeting to have sex with the 15-year-old. Sassak then drove from his home in Pennsylvania to a location in Bridgeport, in October 2020, for said meeting, where law enforcement arrested him. When a search of Sassak’s cell phone was done, officers found child pornographic video.

Bridgeport Police arrested Sassak, in October 2020, when he arrived in Bridgeport under the guise of taking the girl on a fishing trip.

“Protecting children is one of the most important things that we do as federal prosecutors. Thanks to the hard work of the trial team from the U.S. Attorney’s office and the excellent investigation by the Bridgeport Police Department, a dangerous predator has been convicted and young people in our community are safer as a result,” Ihlenfeld said.

Sassak faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the travel charge and faces up to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $250,000 for the pornography charge. He will be sentenced at a later date.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh presided over the trial.

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