CAMERON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Emporium police have arrested and charged a St. Marys man after a call from the victims’ family member in Illinois led them to child sexual assault accusations.

According to the report, 36-year-old Christopher Penfield was arrested and charged after one phone call led police to three girls who said they were all sexually assaulted and abused in some form by Penfield. Police say the call came from a family member who was told about the assault but the kid’s mother was afraid to tell the police.

During the investigation, it was found that Penfield had gotten into an argument with the woman and stormed out of the house. She then found a picture of one of the children in the bathroom tucked away in his wallet. After interviewing the children, aged 11-18, and getting details, they decided to interview Penfield who took a polygraph. On May 20, 2020, Penfield was said to have shown deception on several questions about the accusations, the polygraph examiner told Emporium Police.

Police noted that it became difficult to continue the case after the victims and their mother got a PFA against Penfield and then moved out to Illinois. In early 2021, police say they got a call that the family had moved back to Pennsylvania and lived a few hours away. While looking into the case, the officer was able to track down the investigator who originally tried to search Penfield’s phone for any pictures and videos.

After accessing Penfield’s phone, the officer noted he was given a USB drive and with the victims’ mother’s help, he was able to confirm the identity of the children in the photos and videos.

Penfield was arrested and placed in Cameron County Prison on $250,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

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