|TRENTON –Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Bergen County man was sentenced to prison today for distributing child pornography on the Internet. He was arrested in “Operation Ever Vigilant,” a child pornography sweep conducted in 2013 by the New Jersey State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and federal partners.
Louis Cedeno, 50, of Palisades Park, N.J., was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Frances McGrogan in Bergen County. He pleaded guilty last year to a charge of second-degree distribution of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. In pleading guilty, Cedeno admitted that he knowingly used file-sharing software to make multiple files of child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer. A forensic examination of computer equipment seized from him in Operation Ever Vigilant revealed numerous images and videos of child pornography.
Deputy Attorney General Joseph Remy prosecuted Cedeno and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Cedeno was charged in 2013, before Governor Christie signed New Jersey’s tough new child pornography law, which substantially enhanced the penalties for those who possess, distribute or manufacture child pornography.
“We’re increasing our online investigations targeting sexual predators and others like Cedeno who promote the sexual exploitation of children by distributing and creating demand for child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’ll continue to conduct sweeps like Operation Ever Vigilant to remove these offenders from our communities and protect children.”
“The ability of individuals like Cedeno to readily acquire and distribute numerous files of child pornography is a troubling consequence of the internet,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’re doing everything in our power to disrupt this online market by infiltrating it and aggressively prosecuting these offenders.”
“Sharing these vile and repugnant pictures and videos only fuels the demand for distribution,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Our message is clear: We are going after the producers, distributors, and users alike, and we are going to hold them accountable for their horrendous crimes.”
Cedeno became a target of Operation Ever Vigilant after a detective in the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU) downloaded two videos of child pornography from a shared folder on his computer while monitoring a file-sharing network popular with sex offenders. The computer address from which the videos were downloaded was traced to Cedeno’s residence. When members of the State Police DTIU, the State Police TEAMS South Unit and the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force executed a search warrant at Cedeno’s residence on February 18, 2013, a forensic preview of his computer equipment revealed approximately 60 images and videos of child pornography. A full forensic examination of his personal computer revealed further evidence that he used file-sharing software to offer child pornography for distribution.
Operation Ever Vigilant was a three-month investigation conducted by the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the Division of Criminal Justice, other members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service. It resulted in arrests of 24 men and one juvenile male.
During the investigation, detectives monitored a file-sharing network popular with sex offenders and linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the Internet to download and distribute images of child pornography. Peer to Peer, or P2P, file sharing networks play a major role in the distribution of child pornography. There is a large library of images and videos known to law enforcement, and these electronic files can be traced in various ways on the Internet. Detectives traced transferred files to their origin and destination locations, downloading child pornography that the defendants allegedly offered from their computers on the P2P network.
The file-sharing networks used by offenders to distribute child pornography operate in the same manner as websites used for privately sharing music or movies. Those in possession of the illegal images can make them available on computers that they control for others to download. Because many of these videos and photos of child pornography keep recirculating, they result in the perpetual re-victimization of the children who were sexually assaulted or abused to produce them.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone who has information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet or 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 888-648-6007.
Miles Feinstein, Esq., Clifton, N.J.
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