Ripley man pleads guilty to child pornography charge

CHARLESTON – A 31-year-old former Ripley police officer pleaded guilty Monday to possession of child pornography, said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

George Michael Puskas II of Ripley entered a guilty plea in federal court in Charleston.

Puskas established a sexual relationship with a then 16-year-old minor in March 2010, federal officials said. At the time of the relationship, Puskas produced images and a video of the minor having sex or performing sex acts.

Puskas produced a video of child pornography using a police department-issued digital camera, officials said. Puskas also used a cell phone to create images of child pornography.

On Sept. 7, 2011, Puskas possessed between 10 and 150 images of child pornography, officials said.

Puskas was employed as a police officer with the Ripley Police Department from June 2008 until May 2012. The defendant was an officer with the department at the time of the child pornography violation. Puskas resigned from the Ripley Police Department in May 2012.

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, officials said.

Puskas told police that he maintained a relationship with the minor up until the time the individual turned 18 years old, officials said.

Puskas faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Oct. 1 by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr., officials said.