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Grenninger gets 30 years in child porn case

Judge calls Castanea man a ‘grave threat to the community’

MICHAEL GRENNINGER

WILLIAMSPORT — A federal judge sentenced a Lock Haven area man to 30 years in a child pornography case, telling him that he was “a grave threat to the community.”

U.S. Middle District Judge Matthew W. Brann on Tuesday cited the need to protect children among the reasons he sentenced Michael S. Grenninger, 38, to the maximum jail term followed by 10 years of supervised release.

Grenninger had pleaded guilty in February 2020 to a charge of production of child pornography.

He admitted in July 2017 he engaged in internet chats with an undercover female Virginia state trooper he thought was 11-year-old Courtney. Two of the chats included pictures of his penis.

Grenninger was charged in one of the counts that were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with molesting an 8-year-old girl.

The girl isolates herself, has difficulty sleeping and has required counseling, Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey W. MacArthur said, reading a letter from her mother.

Grenninger had made plans through chats to meet an 11-year-old girl in a New York orphanage, and directed youngsters to perform sex acts he made into videos, the prosecutor had said at the guilty plea proceeding.

A search of his Castanea Twp. home revealed 152 video files of child pornography he produced, MacArthur said.

In rebutting the defense argument for a 15-year sentence, he said, “There is too much horrible criminal conduct here.”

The defendant’s father, Dennis Grenninger, who appeared by video, told the judge, “I don’t know what pushed him over the edge. I think he really wants to change his life.”

His son asked for help four years ago when he was arrested but has been unable to obtain it because he has been in county prisons awaiting the outcome of the federal case, he said.

Grenninger acknowledged he “messed up” and apologized for what he did.

His sentence requires him to pay a total of $18,000 in restitution to three females who were identified on downloaded files seized from his home. He also must forfeit several electronic devices.

When on supervised release he must register as a sex offender and have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 without permission.

Grenninger initially was charged in 2019 by state police in Clinton County but those counts were dropped in favor of the federal prosecution.

He is alleged to have told state police he had been viewing child pornography since 2003 for sexual gratification and had sent and received thousands of pictures and videos.

He admitted taking a picture of an 8-year-old and distributing it over Skype, a state police affidavit stated.

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