TRENTON –Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Gloucester County man who had over 76,000 videos and images of child pornography on his computer devices when he was arrested last year in “Operation Statewide” pleaded guilty today to distributing child pornography. Forty men were arrested in “Operation Statewide,” a child pornography sweep by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children 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.
John H. DeFay Jr., 48, of Pitman, N.J., who was employed as an IT manager for a private business at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty today to a second-degree charge of distribution of child pornography before Superior Court Judge Robert P. Becker in Gloucester County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that DeFay be sentenced to seven 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 Becker scheduled sentencing for DeFay for Jan. 12, 2018.
Deputy Attorney General Joseph Remy prosecuted DeFay and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, DeFay 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 over a dozen videos and images of child pornography from a shared folder at a computer IP address that was subsequently traced to DeFay. DeFay was arrested on July 13, 2016, when members of the DTIU and State Police TEAMS South Unit executed a search warrant at his home and seized computer equipment, including a desktop computer with an attached hard drive. Forensic examinations of the devices revealed more than 76,000 videos and images of child pornography, constituting one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized by law enforcement in New Jersey.
“The number of children who were raped and abused to create the abhorrent materials found on DeFay’s computer could populate a small city,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Those children were victimized to satisfy the deviant desires of men like DeFay, and they are re-victimized each time such offenders share and view their images online. We’ll continue to make these cases a top priority in order to protect and seek justice for children.”
“When we uncover collections of child pornography this huge, the appalling scope of this online criminal market and the harm it inflicts is made clear,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “It motivates us to re-double our efforts to patrol the internet and arrest these offenders with our law enforcement partners.”
“The amount of innocent children subjected to torture, rape and abuse that is required to accumulate a collection of child pornography that contains more than 76,000 files is staggering,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “When we find large-scale traffickers like DeFay, we are going to expose them, put them behind bars, and remind other deviants like him that we are coming for them too.”
Operation Statewide was a multi-agency child pornography sweep coordinated by the New Jersey State Police, as lead agency for the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (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.
Robert Agre, Esq., Law Office of Agre & Jensen, Haddonfield, N.J.
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