Pair produced child pornography, officials say

A Reading man and a Chester County woman have been indicted on federal child pornography charges.

Authorities said Thursday that the man directed the woman to use her cellphone to take sexual photographs of children she was baby-sitting.

Cori Merklinger, 24, whose street address was unavailable, and Ambur Ham, 20, Parkesburg, were indicted in federal court in Philadelphia, said U.S. Attorney Zane D. Memenger.

The two were charged with conspiracy to produce child pornography and production of child pornography.

Merklinger was also charged with distribution of child pornography, and distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography over the Internet.

According to investigators:

Ham worked as a baby sitter and took lewd and naked photographs of several children she was baby-sitting between November 2011 and November 2012.

All the children were under 12. It was unclear where the photos were taken.

She took the photos after talking by cellphone with Merklinger, who directed Ham to take photos of the children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

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