Adam Dwight Snide, 42, who had been living at the home of a Rice Township supervisor, was charged August 1 with 100 counts of child pornography.
Snide admitted he had been “viewing, downloading and disseminating child pornography for over 20 years,” according to the police affidavit. He stated he wouldn’t be surprised if investigators found 10,000 such files on his computer, including photos of infants and of preteen girls in bondage situations.
In a public statement at the Aug. 1 Rice Township supervisors’ meeting, Chair Marcia Thomas acknowledged that a warrant had been served on her Heslop Road home that morning.
“The warrant had nothing to do with me personally or Rice Township,” she stated. “Rather, a friend of the family who needed a place to stay was residing on the second floor of my house… The investigators determined that I am not the target of the warrant and I have assisted them in making my home available for their search.”
During her statement, Thomas described herself as “deeply hurt and disturbed.”
The arresting officers were Detective Charles Balogh of the Luzerne County D. A.’s Office, member of the Pennsylvania State Police Northeast Computer Crime Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and Trooper Andrew Petros, Pennsylvania State Police, who is also a member of the Pennsylvania State Police NE Computer Crime Unit. Balogh and Petros are responsible for investigating complaints that stem from children being sexually exploited via the Internet.
In an interview, Balogh confirmed that Thomas “cooperated right from the minute we got to the home” and that she is not suspected of any wrongdoing.
The investigation began on November 3, 2016, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received two cybertips from Microsoft indicating that an individual had uploaded two files that appeared to show child pornography. Investigators traced the action to a Metrocast account. Through a subpoena to Metrocast, investigators then determined the account was registered to Thomas’ home, according to the affidavit.
Thomas explained to investigators that Snide had been the person who set up her wireless router, according to the affidavit.
Snide told investigators he “felt sorry for all those individuals he sexually exploited” and called viewing of child pornography “an addiction,” according to the affidavit.
Snide, who was born in Vermont, held an expired driver’s license from South Carolina. According to the affidavit, he had been living on Thomas’s second floor since June 2016.
Unable to post $500,000 bail, he is being held in the Luzerne County Prison.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled at 10 a. m. today, August 9, before Magisterial District Judge James Dixon in Hazleton, although Balogh noted the hearing could be “continued,” or postponed to a later date.