BROOKVILLE — Michael T. Wonderling, 47, of Brookville, entered guilty pleas Wednesday to five charges of child pornography.
Originally charged with 35 counts on April 17, information recovered by computer forensic specialists, led to Wonderling being charged with a total of 913 felony counts of child pornography and 11 counts of criminal use of a communications facility.
Wonderling, represented by attorney Robbie M. Taylor, waived his rights, including to a jury trial.
As Jefferson County Judge John H. Foradora asked for his plea on each of the first five counts against him, Wonderling replied, “guilty.”
With the guilty plea, the remaining counts against Wonderling were nolle prossed or dropped.
The charges against the former Brockway Area School District math teacher arose out of a joint investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, and the Brookville Police Department.
The case stems from an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Northwest Computer Crime Unit after it had received images from Microsoft of alleged child pornography distribution. The images were viewed by the state police corporal handling the case and by authorities with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A subpoena was issued to Internet service provider Windstream and it was determined the IP address was for Wonderling’s residence, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Brookville Borough Police Chief Vince Markle was contacted by a representative of the state police unit. Borough police executed a search warrant at Wonderling’s Brookville residence and recovered several cell phones, thumb drives, CDs and other computer equipment as well as Wonderling’s desktop computer. State police forensic scientist Fernando Hernandez notified borough police that he had reconstructed deleted images from the cell phones and computer seized and had found more than 30 images of alleged child pornography.
Foradora ordered a pre-sentence evaluation through the county’s adult probation department as well as an evaluation to determine if Wonderling is a sexual predator or not via the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. Depending on the outcome of these two evaluations, Foradora will determine sentencing within the mandated guidelines.
Sentencing is not expected to take place until at least April. For now Wonderling remains free on bail.