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NJ Child Porn Dragnet Nabs Fifth-Grade Teacher and 15 Others

New Jersey authorities are working with federal agencies to crack down on child pornography statewide. A recent investigation of file-sharing networks and chatrooms, called Operation Safeguard, led to the arrest of 16 people, including a fifth-grade teacher and a school bus driver, who allegedly viewed kiddie porn between bus runs. According to Robert Lougy, acting New Jersey attorney general, the joint effort with the Department of Homeland Security targeted persons viewing and distributing child pornography, including child rape videos, which provide motivation for “predators who torture children to create these repulsive materials.”

Since these charges under New Jersey’s strict 2013 child pornography law are indictable offenses, a grand jury must hear evidence and decide whether to indict. If indictments come, the suspects, who range in age from 17 to 72, face enhanced consequences due to these changes in the law:

  • The definition of “child” now applies to any person under 18 years of age.
  • Possession of child pornography is now a third-degree crime.
  • Possession of 100 or more files of child pornography carries a presumptive prison term of three to five years.
  • Distribution of child pornography is still a second-degree crime, carrying a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
  • There is a mandatory five-year minimum of parole ineligibility for distribution of 25 or more files.
  • When charged with distribution, internet file sharers face a strict liability standard for having child pornography in a “shared folder” on a computer, so they cannot claim they did not know the files were there.
  • A defendant convicted of having 25 or more files in a shared folder is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison without parole for distribution.

However, even with strict liability standards and mandatory minimum sentencing, an experienced criminal defense attorney can do much to protect a suspect’s rights and mount a viable defense.

If you have questions about New Jersey’s child pornography laws, speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of David J. Glassman. You can reach us online or at 866-221-1270.