TRENTON - Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a man pleaded guilty today to manufacturing child pornography and other charges for using the internet to blackmail five young teenage girls across the United States into posing nude and engaging in sexual conduct on web cameras while he recorded them.
Daniel Derringer III, 28, of Lake Worth, Fla., formerly of Union City, N.J., pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacturing child pornography (2nd degree), one count of distribution of child pornography (2nd degree) and one count of debauching the morals of a child (3rd degree) before Superior Court Judge Sheila Venable in Hudson County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Derringer be sentenced to 12 years in prison, including six years for each of the manufacturing charges, with the sentences to run consecutively, and concurrent sentences of five and three years on the distribution and debauching charges. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Sentencing for Derringer is scheduled for Feb. 9.
Deputy Attorney General Brandy Malfitano took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice. The charges stemmed from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Three of the victims were 15 at the time of the alleged offenses, and one was 14. The fifth victim was 16 at the time. Under the statutes in effect at the time, a child was defined as under 16 for purposes of the state’s child pornography law; now the law defines a child as under 18.
“Derringer is a serial sexual predator who used the anonymity of the internet to sexually exploit underage girls,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Thanks to the courage of the victim who came forward and the excellent work of our detectives and attorneys, we uncovered more of Derringer’s vile crimes and now are sending him to prison, where he can’t harm any more vulnerable victims.”
“We’ve made child protection a top priority and will continue our aggressive efforts to investigate and prosecute internet predators and child pornography offenders, in collaboration with the New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement partners,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This case graphically illustrates the dangers of the internet and the need for parents to be vigilant and keep the lines of communication open with their children.”
“Derringer lived a deranged and twisted existence in the dark recesses of the internet,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation and guilty plea places all of those who would consider such devious acts on notice that the law enforcement community, at all levels and jurisdictions, will never cease in our efforts to unmask them from their internet anonymity and bring them to justice.”
The investigation began when a 15-year-old girl in Minnesota reported to local police that she had been coerced into engaging in sexual conduct on a webcam by a person who contacted her online through a social networking site, claiming to be another girl of the same age. The person, who was later identified as Derringer, transmitted a video of an underage girl touching herself in a sexual manner to make the victim believe she was seeing the girl who was chatting with her. The investigation revealed that Derringer convinced the victim to take off her top and expose her breasts in front of her webcam. Derringer recorded the act. He then got on his own webcam, revealing that he had been lying about his identity, and told her that if she didn’t do as he told her, he would post the video of her exposing her breasts on the Internet. Derringer ordered the girl to disrobe. He then demanded that she touch herself in a sexual manner and assume various poses to better expose herself. Meanwhile, Derringer masturbated and exposed his genitals to the girl via his webcam. He also showed her sexually explicit videos of other young girls.
The victim used her cell phone to take a photo of her computer screen with her assailant’s face visible, and police in Minnesota traced the communications to the address of Derringer, who was living in New Jersey at that time. They alerted the New Jersey State Police. The State Police matched the photo taken by the victim with Derringer. The State Police executed a search warrant on April 4, 2013 at Derringer’s residence in Union City and seized computer equipment. Derringer was arrested by the Union City Police three days later when he returned from a trip out of state.
Forensic examination of the computer equipment seized from Derringer revealed numerous videos of incidents similar to that which the Minnesota girl reported to the police. Detectives, working with other law enforcement agencies across the U.S., were able to identify four additional victims in Washington State, Florida, Indiana and Ohio who were subsequently interviewed. The investigation revealed that Derringer used similar methods with those victims, meeting them on chat sites and posing as a girl to convince them to expose and in some cases touch themselves on webcams while he secretly recorded them. As in the first case, Derringer used videos of underage girls engaging in sexual conduct to trick the victims into believing he was a girl and encourage them to engage in further sexual conduct. He then made threats to the victims to coerce them into engaging in more sexually explicit acts, usually threatening to post online the videos he already obtained. In most of these cases, he remained disguised as a female, but in one case he revealed his identity as a man once he began making threats.
Deputy Attorney General Lilianne Daniel presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Analysis & Technology Unit, within the Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Julia Glass and Bureau Chief Michael Monahan. Attorney General Porrino commended the detectives who conducted the investigation for the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
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.
Defense Attorney: Stephen G. McCarthy Jr., Esq., New York, N.Y.
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