Brian Hopersberger, 44, 151 N. Mountain Blvd., Mountaintop, has been charged with over 100 counts of Child Pornography, Disseminating Photo/Film of Child Sex Acts and Criminal Use of Communication Facility. Charges were filed on October 30, 2015 by Arresting Officer Justin M. Leri, a Special Agent with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Child Predator Section.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause, on July 11, 2015, Special Agent Leri, was conducting an online investigation on the BitTorrent network for offenders sharing child pornography. On July 11, Leri successfully completed the download of three files that a specific IP address was making available. The device at the IP address was the sole candidate for each download; each file was downloaded directly from this IP address depicting videos of child pornography.
On July 17, 2015 the subscriber was identified as Brian Hopersberger, 15 N. Mountain Blvd., Mountaintop.
On August 24, 2015, Agent Leri obtained a search warrant for the address. Investigators from the PA Attorney General’s Office, Luzerne County Detectives and Wright Township Police executed the search warrant. A knock and announce was performed at the front door. After a reasonable amount of time, investigators forced entry.
During a search of the residence, investigators encountered an adult male, Phillip Hopersberger, walking down the steps from the second floor. Hopersberger was handcuffed and led outside. Hopersberger was advised he was not under arrest, however a search warrant was being executed on the residence. The handcuffs were removed and Hopersberger sat on the front porch. He stated he understood he was not under arrest, and stated he would answer any questions.
Agent Leri asked Hopersberger why he had not answered the front door after hearing police. He stated he had been drinking all night and was “passed out”. The agent noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from his body. Phillip stated that only he and his brother, Brian, live in the residence. He stated that Brian was not home as he had just started a new construction job. He further stated that Brian was an adult son, Brian Junior, who had lived at the residence but moved out in early winter 2015.
Agent Leri explained that the search warrant was related to computer activity, specifically child pornography. Phillip Hopersberger stated that he did not have a computer, not did he know how to use one. He stated Brian has a computer in his bedroom and that Brian pays for the internet connection. He also stated that when Brian Jr. had lived with them, he may have had a laptop.
When asked by the Agent about visitors to the residence, Phillip stated he has a friend who sometimes visits but Brian never had any visitors.
Investigators conducted a search and located a desktop computer in the bedroom of Brian Hopersberger. Agents with the computer forensic unit conducted a preview examination and noted files associated with the “Bitlord” software, as seen in the investigation, along with thumbnail files of child pornography.
At 1:30 p. m., Narcotics Agents Schwartz and Maguire and Agent Leri attempted to locate Brian Hopersberger based on information by Phillip but were unable to locate him. Additional attempts to contact Brian Hopersberger were unsuccessful.
On September 9, 2015, a computer forensic examination of two devices from the bedroom of Brian Hopersberger revealed 110 thumbnail files of images of child pornography. Analysis of deleted files noted 27 videos of child pornography.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled December 16, 2015 at 10 a. m. before Magisterial District Judge Ronald Swank.