TRENTON –Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Burlington County, N.J., man was sentenced to state prison today on a charge of manufacturing child pornography for coercing a 13-year-old girl he met online into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself.
Craig L. Wyatt, 25, of Willingboro, N.J., was sentenced to five years in state prison, including more than four years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Terrence R. Cook in Burlington County. The state recommended a sentence of eight years in prison under the plea agreement, including nearly seven years of parole ineligibility, but the judge imposed a sentence of five years. Wyatt pleaded guilty on June 2 to charges of first-degree manufacturing child pornography and third-degree possession of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Deputy Attorneys General Jillian Carpenter and Brian Faulk took the guilty plea and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The charges stem from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
The investigation revealed that Wyatt threatened to take the girl away from her home against her will if she did not send him sexually explicit photos of herself. Wyatt previously was convicted of five counts of terroristic threats in Burlington and Atlantic counties for stalking other girls on Facebook and sending them threatening messages. He served over a year in jail and was on probation at the time of the crime for which he was sentenced today.
“We have put this serial predator behind bars so he can’t continue to stalk, terrorize and sexually exploit other young girls,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Wyatt bullied and blackmailed his vulnerable victim over a period of two months, during which he frightened her into sending him increasingly explicit photos of herself. He is every parent’s worst internet nightmare.”
“Police and parents used to worry about predators their children might encounter at the swimming pool, playground or shopping mall, but now that vigilance must extend to the perilous world of the internet and social media,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to make child protection a top priority and diligently pursue sexual predators like Wyatt who strike online.”
“Wyatt intimidated his 13-year-old victim and fueled his perverse fantasy by manipulating her into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This predator will now face time behind bars for his despicable crimes.”
Wyatt was indicted on Nov. 17, 2015, on charges related to the 13-year-old girl, whom he met on Facebook in May 2014. He initially befriended the victim, who said she was 15, flattering her and sending her affectionate texts. However, after he obtained one or more nude photos of her, he became increasingly threatening. The state’s investigation revealed that, on 10 occasions in May and June of 2014, Wyatt used threats to obtain additional photos of the victim of a more sexually explicit nature.
During a series of text messages via cell phone and Facebook, Wyatt repeatedly threatened to abduct the girl from her home and/or post the photos of her he already possessed on the Internet if she did not meet his demands for sexually explicit photos. He said others were going to help him take her away and he was going to impregnate her. After a concerned relative of the victim learned of the threats, the relative contacted the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, which investigated and arrested Wyatt on Oct. 31, 2014. Detectives seized Wyatt’s cell phone, allegedly discovering 36 sexually explicit images of the victim, 34 saved in his cell phone and two saved in his Facebook account.
Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Attorney General Porrino commended the detectives from the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit who conducted the investigation.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone who suspects improper contact by persons communicating with children on 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.
John Cirrinicione, Esq., Deputy Assistant Public Defender, Burlington County.
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