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 was sentenced today to state prison. He was among 40 men arrested last year in “Operation Statewide,” a child pornography sweep conducted 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, was sentenced today to seven years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Robert P. Becker in Gloucester County. DeFay pleaded guilty on Sept. 18 to a second-degree charge of distribution 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 Attorney General Joseph Remy prosecuted Defay for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau and handled the sentencing with Deputy Attorney General Supriya Prasad.
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.
“It’s heartbreaking to think of the many thousands of young children who were raped and sexually abused to produce the child pornography that DeFay had accumulated in his vast collection,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This case illustrates the huge scope of this problem and the way that collectors like DeFay, who constantly search the internet for new child pornography, drive the sexual exploitation of children and the production of these horrific materials. We will never rest in our efforts to bring these predators to justice.”
“New Jersey’s ICAC Task Force is an excellent example of how law enforcement agencies at all levels are working collaboratively to identify and track down those who share this filth on the internet,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Our regular operations targeting these offenders have snared many hands-on child predators, highlighting the fact that viewing child pornography is part of a continuum of deviant behavior that often leads to sexual assaults on children.”
“Deviants like DeFay, who possessed and shared one of largest collections of child pornography in state history, create the demand for new pornography, turning innocent children into victims of rape and abuse,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I am proud of New Jersey’s ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police, for not only removing these abhorrent files from the internet, but for putting those who share them 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 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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