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Child porn case suspect expected to plead guilty

Brosch said medication kept her from thinking clearly in court

HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona woman is expected to return to Blair County court in two weeks and render guilty pleas to criminal charges filed in connection with her role in a child pornography and prostitution operation.

In court Friday, Blair County Judge Wade A. Kagarise declined to accept guilty pleas from Amy M. Brosch, 35, after Brosch said medication was keeping her from clear thinking.

Before the disclosure, Brosch had difficulty answering questions presented to defendants submitting guilty pleas in court. In some cases, Brosch offered incomplete answers, and that prompted questions to be repeated.

Brosch, currently housed in the Bedford County Jail at Blair County’s request, was arrested in June as part of what Altoona police identified as a “significant” child pornography and prostitution network operating in 2017 and 2018 under the direction of Stephen Apostolu and Apostolu’s girlfriend, Karen S. Tornatore.

Police accused Brosch, a former Logan Hills resident, of introducing a 17-year-old girl to Apostolu, who enticed her into posing for sexual photographs and videos.

In court Friday, when questioned by defense attorney Mark Zearfaus, Brosch said she intended to render guilty pleas to criminal charges, including trafficking of minors, sexual exploitation of children and photographing and conspiring to photograph children in sexual acts.

But when Kagarise asked Brosch about a pending sentence of eight-to-20 years incarceration, Brosch looked at Zearfaus, who asked Brosch to recall their conversation.

When Kagarise said he wouldn’t take Brosch’s pleas, neither Zearfaus nor Assistant District Attorney Nicole Smith objected. Instead, Zearfaus suggested Feb. 8 as an alternative date for Brosch to return to court, and Kagarise directed the plea to be rescheduled.

Smith told Kagarise that the proposed eight-to-20 years incarceration on a charge of trafficking in minors falls in the lower portion of the standard range of the state’s sentencing guidelines.

Incarceration and probationary periods on Brosch’s other criminal charges could be run concurrently, Smith proposed.

Zearfaus said his client had agreed to the proposed sentence as long as it doesn’t exceed eight-to-20 years.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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