NORRISTOWN – A North Wales man who once worked as a school bus driver has pleaded guilty to charges of storing child pornography on his electronic devices and is awaiting his fate from a judge.
Daniel R. McCauley, 55, of the 300 block of Elm Avenue, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County District Court to a charge of possession of child pornography in connection with incidents that occurred in May 2021.
Judge Virgil B. Walker delayed sentencing so McCauley could undergo a psychosexual evaluation. McCauley also faces an evaluation by the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Evaluation Board, which will determine if he meets the criteria to be classified as a sexually violent predator. Those classified as predators face more severe restrictions while on parole or probation.
The open plea means McCauley has no deals with prosecutors regarding his sentence. McCauley faces a maximum sentence of 7 to 14 years in prison. However, state sentencing guidelines may allow for a lesser sentence.
Regardless of the final sentence, McCauley will face a 15-year requirement to report his address to state police under Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
McCauley remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing. McCauley is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with minors and unsupervised use of electronics, according to his bail conditions.
Assistant District Attorney Jediah Grobstein is prosecuting the case. Attorney Ethan O’Shea is representing McCauley.
With the child pornography charges, detectives specifically alleged that the images in McCauley’s possession depicted female children under the age of 18 and over the age of 13.
The investigation began on May 25, 2021, when detectives received CyberTips, which were created based on complaints filed by Yahoo regarding child sexual exploitation images linked to two email accounts belonging to McCauley, according to the criminal complaint. The images depicted unclothed young children, court documents show.
According to a criminal complaint filed by County Detective James J. Rip from the District Attorney’s Victims Unit, one CyberTip suggested that McCauley works as a school bus driver due to other images found on the user’s platform.
“A public source search identified Daniel McCauley as an employee of First Student Bus Service,” Ripp wrote in the criminal complaint.
First Student Inc. is a national school bus company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio that provides transportation services to school districts throughout the region.
When detectives met with McCauley on May 26, he confirmed ownership of two email accounts and a phone number associated with the accounts linked to CyberTips.
“Mr. McCauley admitted to downloading and viewing images that he said were nudist and naturist photos,” Rip claimed. “He said, ‘Maybe I went too far with my curiosity.'”
When detectives asked McCauley why he would search and view the images, he allegedly stated that he thought the girls were “cute,” according to the arrest warrant.
Court documents show McCauley consented to a manual search of two computer devices found in his home, and the search revealed images of minors in bikinis, as well as additional images of unclothed minors.
McCauley allegedly admitted to masturbating while viewing images of one of the girls, estimating her age to be about 15, according to the criminal complaint.
A search warrant was obtained for the devices collected at McCauley’s residence. During a forensic examination of the devices, detectives found seven images of nude girls under the age of 18 with “indecent displays of genitalia,” detectives said.