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OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE

 
 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 27, 2005


 
 
39 Arrested in NJ for Child Porn Distribution

Subjects shared videotaped rape of 5-year-old over the Internet

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 and 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.

"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 with the New Jersey State Police 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

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
 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
 Juvenile  15  Livingston/Essex  Possession
 Jesse D. Dougherty  22  Glassboro/Glo.  Possession/Distribution
 Daniel J. Dougherty  20  Glassboro/Glo.  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
 Jeffrey Patti  36  Sparta/Sussex  Possession/Distribution

* 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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