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February 20, 2018

Authorities: Three men arrested for attempting to have sexual contact with minor children

Courts Sex Charges
02202018_Three_arrests Source/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Joseph Picchi, 49, of Hammonton, left, Donovan Early, 28, of Philadelphia, center, and Jonathan Uitto, 30, of Conshohocken face felony charges after they allegedly engaged in extensive online and text communications with undercover detectives posing as 14-year-old girls.

Three men were arrested in the past five weeks for allegedly attempting to have sexual contact with minor children.

The men – identified as Donovan Early, 28, of Philadelphia; Joseph Picchi, 49, of Hammonton, N.J.; and Jonathan Uitto, 30, of Conshohocken – face felony charges after they separately engaged in extensive online and text communications with undercover detectives posing as 14-year-old girls, authorities alleged.

All three men are accused of engaging in sexually explicit, electronic communications with a person they believed was a minor child, and each of the defendants allegedly shared sexually explicit photos with the purported 14-year-old female, authorities said.

Early and Picchi­ allegedly went to an agreed-upon meeting location in Conshohocken with the intent of having sexual relations with the minor child, law enforcement officials said.

Early was arrested Jan. 17 and charged with Attempted Statutory Sexual Assault, Attempted Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse with a Person Less Than 16, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, and Corruption of Minors, as well as Criminal Use of a Communication Facility, authorities said.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Deborah A. Lukens, who set bail at $150,000 cash, and remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after failing to post bail. He waived his preliminary hearing.

Picchi was arrested Jan. 25 and charged with Attempted Statutory Sexual Assault, Kidnapping, Interference with Custody of a Child, Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse with Person Less Than 16, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, and Corruption of Minors, as well as Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Suzan Leonard, who set bail at $75,000, and remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after failing to post bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2018 before Lukens. 

Uitto was arrested Feb. 14 and charged with attempted Contact/Communications with a Minor with Obscene Material or Nature, Discussing Explicit Sexual Material with a Minor, and Corruption of Minors, as well as Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Juanita A. Price, who set bail at $100,000. He posted bail and was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on March 1, 2018 before Magisterial District Judge Francis J. Bernhardt III.

The charges were announced by Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele, Upper Merion Township Police Chief Thomas Nolan, Conshohocken Borough Police Chief Michael Orler, East Norriton Township Police Chief Karyl Kates, Abington Township Police Department Chief Patrick Molloy, Horsham Township Police Chief William J. Daly and the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

According to authorities, Major Crimes detectives of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, along with specially trained and sworn detectives from police departments in Montgomery County, routinely work with the ICAC Task Force to protect children from Internet predators by aggressively and proactively investigating Internet crimes that exploit children.

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