|TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Camden County man has been indicted on charges that he molested a teenage girl and took sexually explicit photos of her while she was sleeping. The charges stem from a child pornography investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice.
Bernard Cahill, 55, of Gloucester Township, was charged yesterday in a 10-count state grand jury indictment with aggravated sexual assault (1st degree), sexual assault (2nd degree), impairing or debauching the morals of a child under 16 (2nd degree), photographing a child in prohibited sexual acts (2nd degree), distribution of child pornography (2nd degree), offering child pornography (2nd degree), aggravated criminal sexual contact (3rd degree), invasion of privacy (3rd degree), criminal sexual contact (4th degree), and possession of child pornography (4th degree).
Cahill was initially arrested in April 2012 in “Operation Watchdog,” a multi-agency investigation led by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice that targeted offenders who distributed known images and videos of child pornography online. While investigating Cahill’s alleged sharing of child pornography online, investigators allegedly discovered sexually explicit images in Cahill’s computer that he had taken of a 16-year-old girl. Cahill lived in Folsom in Atlantic County at the time of his arrest and the alleged criminal conduct.
The investigation revealed that, on multiple occasions, Cahill allegedly touched and penetrated the 16-year-old victim sexually with his fingers while she slept, and pulled aside her shorts or pulled up her shirt to take photos of her exposed private areas. He also allegedly placed her hand on his genitals while she slept. It is further alleged that, beginning when the victim was 13, Cahill spied on her and photographed her through her bedroom window while she was alone. He allegedly photographed her in the nude and while she was engaged in sexual conduct.
The child pornography charges relate to Cahill’s alleged downloading and sharing of child pornography on the Internet. A forensic review of his computer allegedly revealed approximately 1,000 images and 300 videos of child pornography.
“This defendant allegedly molested a teenage girl while she was completely helpless, and photographed his depraved acts for his further gratification,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “We are working hard to protect children by hunting down these sexual predators on the Internet.”
“This case clearly illustrates the connection between child pornography and further predatory behavior against children,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to work closely with the State Police to apprehend sexual predators and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
Deputy Attorney General Naju R. Lathia presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Analysis & Technology Unit. Operation Watchdog was conducted in partnership with other members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and agents from ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI.
First-degree crimes carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000; second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000; third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000; and fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Thomas W. Sumners Jr. in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Atlantic County, where Cahill will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman urged anyone who suspects improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 1-888-648-6007.