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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 27, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of State Police
- Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent

 

NJSP Office of Public Information
(609) 882-2000
Capt. Al Della Fave ext. 6514
Lt. Kevin Rehmann ext. 6515
SFC Gerald Lewis ext. 6516
A/Sgt. Stephen Jones ext. 6513

 
 

39 Arrested in NJ for Child Porn Distribution
Subjects shared videotaped rape of 5-year-old over the Internet

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Hamilton – Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes today announced the arrest of 39 people on child pornography charges resulting from a landmark investigation in which detectives used new technology to detect child pornography files shared over the Internet, then traced them to the computers on which they were stored.

Dubbed Operation Guardian, the child pornography investigation was conducted by New Jersey State Police detectives from the Child Protection and Cyber-Crime Bureau, working in conjunction with the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice within the Office of the Attorney General.

According to Harvey, those arrested range in age from 14 to 61, and include a high-school hockey coach, a lawyer and a pediatric neurosurgeon. Detectives seized many computers containing still photos and video images of child pornography. Among the images were a series of video clips showing the molestation and rape of a five-year-old girl in Georgia by a man now serving a 45-year prison term. In a number of cases, investigators found evidence of child pornography despite the presence of computer software designed to permanently erase files and remove Web site traces.

“We will prosecute anyone who knowingly downloads from the Internet and circulates images of children who are being sexually exploited,” Harvey said during a press briefing at the state-of-the-art New Jersey State Police Technology Center here. “We will do everything we can to stop adults who abuse, exploit and hurt children, whether over the Internet or in the community. Through technology and training, we are constantly enhancing our ability to do just that.”

The investigation was spawned by the innovative use of a file sifting technology by Special Agent Flynt Waters of the Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Over a two-day monitoring period, this software detected images of child pornography and traced them to 42 computer addresses in New Jersey that received and/or offered to circulate them. Troopers worked with Deputy Attorneys General from the Division of Criminal Justice to prepare subpoenas leading to 38 search warrants, which were executed between January 17 and January 27 of this year.

Colonel Rick Fuentes voiced a sense of urgency for the continuation of these investigations. “Every time another person transmits these sickening images, the children depicted in them are victimized all over again,” Fuentes said. “We want everyone to know that those dealing in child porn are on our radar, and we’re closing in.”

“This is not an issue of what people do in the privacy of their homes,” Fuentes added. “We’re interrupting criminal careers. We believe that viewing and transmitting these videos is part of a timeline that may lead to stalking criminal sexual contact with children.”

Some of the most disturbing evidence uncovered on seized computer media included a series of clips showing James Bidwell in the act of molesting and raping a five-year-old girl. Bidwell, of Toccoa, Georgia, was arrested after sending videotapes of these crimes to Canada and England. Late in 2002, he pleaded guilty to rape and child molestation charges and was sentenced to 30 years. Federal charges related to the creation and distribution of child pornography tacked an additional 15 years of jail time to Bidwell’s sentence.

In addition to the seizure of computers and images of child pornography, Operation Guardian detectives seized a cache of weapons, including assault rifles and some illegal drugs. Several spin-off investigations have already begun.

Experts at State Police Headquarters in the Child Protection and Cyber-Crimes Bureau will examine some computer evidence from this case while the bulk of the computer media will be dissected by the N.J. Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL), located on the site of today’s press announcement. Unveiled in February of 2004, the RCFL is an FBI-sponsored venture that includes the New Jersey State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice within the Office of the Attorney General.

“It is fitting that we are here at the new State Police Technology Center today, for it houses the RCFL, and the RCFL houses a well-equipped forensic laboratory devoted entirely to the examination of computer evidence in support of criminal investigations,” said Harvey. “It is a vital tool in our effort to combat cyber-crime and protect those who use the Internet.”

“The pervasiveness of child pornography online is a major concern for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” stated its President and CEO Ernie Allen. “Reports of child pornography to our CyberTipline have grown from 76,000 in 2003 to 106,000 last year. We are grateful for the collaborative work of the New Jersey State Police, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the many other agencies for their roles in Operation Guardian. This is a tremendous example of how improved technology, law enforcement training, and teamwork can make a difference.”

NCMEC’s CyberTipline, at www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678, is a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation. Since its inception in 1998, analysts have handled more than 300,000 reports with approximately 91% of those categorized as child pornography.

While a significant success, Operation Guardian is not the first time the State has undertaken a major, multi-agency initiative to combat child pornography. Operation Web Sweep, an effort spearheaded by the Division of Criminal Justice, resulted in the shutdown of a Web site featuring child pornography, the seizure of computer equipment and software, and the identification of hundreds of child pornography suspects in New Jersey, throughout the United States and in other countries. Operation Web Sweep involved an unprecedented “reverse sting” in cyber-space designed by the Division of Criminal Justice’s Computer Analysis and Technology Unit (CATU). Additional law enforcement resources and expertise were provided by the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and more than 65 international, federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies.

Agencies cooperating in Operation Guardian include:

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • FBI
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Long Branch P.D.
  • Roxbury P.D.
  • Division of Criminal Justice
  • N.J. Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Child Exploitation Group
  • 19 county prosecutor’s offices
  • 36 municipal police departments

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PARTIAL LIST….. Subjects arrested in Operation Guardian listed by County:

  • Matthew D. Fletcher, Sr. 33 Egg Hbr. Twp/Atl. Poss/Dist and weapons chgs
  • Christopher J. McGovern 21 Galloway/Atlantic Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 15 Lyndhurst/Bergen Possession/Distribution
  • Shane Binns 47 New Milford/Bgn. Warrants (spinoff)
  • Simon D. Debran 35 Garfield/Bergen Possession/Distribution
  • Maximo V. Paulino, Jr. 19 New Milford/Bgn. Possession/Distribution
  • Matthew W. Brown 23 Mt. Holly/Burl. Possession/Distribution
  • Mark A. Jackson 37 Cinnaminson/Burl. Possession/Distribution
  • Thomas A. Pernicello 53 Mt. Holly/Burl. Poss. Marijuana (spinoff)
  • Juvenile 16 Clementon/Camden Possession/Distribution
  • Peter J. Volk 61 Ocean Cty/Cape May Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 17 Millville/Cumb. Possession/Distribution
  • Kenneth Carberry 49 Millville/Cumb. Possession
  • Robert Morris 38 Vineland/Cumb. Possession/Distribution
  • James Blundell, Jr. 36 National Park/Glo. Possession/Distribution
  • Brian C. Horner 33 Woodbury/Glo. Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 17 Fort Lee/Hudson Possession
  • Carey Guillaume 19 Secaucus/Hudson Possession
  • Sergio Sanchez 33 Union City/Hudson Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 16 Hamilton/Mercer Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 15 E Brunswick/Mdsx Possession/Distribution
  • Eric Szkola 37 Perth Amboy/Mdsx Possession/Distribution
  • Rigoberto Garro 40 Eatontown/Monm Possession/Distribution
  • Adrian Mendoza 21 Neptune/Monmouth Possession/Distribution
  • Ross B. Finesmith 43 Basking Rdg/Morris Possession/Distribution
  • Andrew Friedman 27 Morristown/Morris Possession/Distribution
  • Blake Kishpaugh 19 Flander/Morris Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 14 Brick/Ocean Not charged at present
  • Matthew Foberg 20 Lakewood/Ocean Possession/Distribution
  • Frederick Krage 5th * 21 Jackson/Ocean Possession/Distribution
  • Douglas R. Hancock 40 Bloomingdale/Pass. Possession
  • Joseph Napoleone 39 Haskell/Passaic Possession
  • Richard R. Newton II 42 Pennsville/Salem Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 17 Landing/Sussex Possession/Distribution
  • Juvenile 15 Hopatcong/Sussex Possession

* Registered Sex Offender
Note regarding juveniles: Some juvenile subjects may be tried as adults
Note regarding charges: Some subjects charged only with possession may receive additional charges after a forensic examination of the evidence in their cases.

 

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