|TRENTON –Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that an Ocean County man pleaded guilty today to distributing child pornography online. He was arrested last year with 39 other offenders in “Operation Statewide,” a child pornography sweep by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which includes the New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and numerous state, county and local law enforcement agencies.
Bruce Davis, 55, of Whiting, N.J., pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of child pornography before Superior Court Judge Linda G. Baxter in Ocean County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Davis be sentenced to five years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Judge Baxter scheduled sentencing for Davis for Oct. 11.
Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo prosecuted Davis and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, Davis 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 “shared folder” on his computer. While monitoring a peer-to-peer file-sharing network popular with sex offenders, a detective of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU) downloaded nearly 100 suspected videos and images of child pornography from shared folders at two computer IP addresses that were traced to Davis. Davis was arrested on Aug. 15, 2016 when members of the State Police DTIU executed a search warrant at his home and seized several devices, including a laptop computer. Davis was actively using the laptop to download child pornography from the file-sharing network when detectives arrived. A forensic exam of the laptop revealed more than 100 files of child pornography, including more than 25 files that were in a shared folder available for other network users to download.
“As Davis has learned, those who promote the cruel exploitation of children by viewing and sharing child pornography online are going to find themselves viewing and sharing the inside of a prison cell,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’ll continue to crack down on these offenders and the abhorrent materials they traffic through sweeps like Operation Statewide.”
“Offenders like Davis think they can hide behind the anonymity of the internet, but we have the technology to track them down and bring them to justice for their crimes, which perpetually victimize the children involved,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Our tough child pornography law enables us to put significant distributers of these materials in prison for lengthy terms with mandatory periods of parole ineligibility.”
“Bruce Davis was a purveyor of more than a hundred videos of abuse, cruelty, and sexual assault of innocent child victims,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I commend our detectives from the Digital Technology Investigations Unit for their diligent efforts during this investigation, which will put Davis behind bars.”
Operation Statewide was a multi-agency child pornography sweep coordinated by the New Jersey State Police, as lead agency for the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, which led to arrests of 40 men last year, including defendants in every county of New Jersey. During the operation, investigators linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the Internet to download and distribute 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 downloaded child pornography that the defendants allegedly offered from their computers on P2P networks, tracing the files to their origin locations.
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 commended the detectives of the New Jersey State Police DTIU and members of the other agencies in the New Jersey ICAC Task Force who conducted Operation Statewide, as well as the attorneys who participated in the investigations and are prosecuting the cases.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone with information about distribution of child pornography on the Internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Stephen Colianni, Esq., Law Offices of S. Karl Mohel, Toms River, N.J.
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