TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Middlesex County man who has two prior child pornography convictions resulting from arrests in 2006 and 2009 pleaded guilty today to a new child pornography charge stemming from his arrest last year in “Operation Safety Net.”
Kevin G. Wenng Jr., 36, of Old Bridge, N.J., pleaded guilty today to a charge of possession of over 100 files of child pornography before Superior Court Judge Dennis V. Nieves in Middlesex County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Wenng be sentenced to five years in state prison. He already was registered as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, but the state will now recommend that he be ordered to be subject to parole supervision for life. Wenng is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 2.
Deputy Attorney General Marie McGovern took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
Wenng was among 79 child predators and child pornography offenders arrested in “Operation Safety Net,” a nine-month, multi-agency child protection operation. The operation was conducted in 2017 by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police and includes the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Ten alleged “hands-on” offenders were arrested in Operation Safety Net, including eight New Jersey men, as well as men in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate from New Jersey so they could sexually assault them.
Wenng was arrested on May 9, 2017, by detectives from the New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Old Bridge Township Police Department. The New Jersey State Police had received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about a user who uploaded numerous files of child pornography to a cloud storage account. The account was linked to IP addresses that were traced to Wenng. The detectives seized a desktop computer and two cell phones from Wenng. A total of 119 images and 65 videos of child pornography were found on the cell phones.
“Wenng has repeatedly linked himself to the network of offenders who drive the cruel sexual exploitation of children by collecting and distributing child pornography,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are putting this recidivist offender behind bars and will ask the court to impose parole supervision for life.”
“In collaboration with the State Police and other law enforcement partners, we are working proactively on a daily basis to apprehend sex offenders by running down tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as in this case, or monitoring peer-to-peer networks, mobile apps, social media and ad sites used by these offenders,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to make these child protection efforts a top priority.”
“Wenng’s resolve to continually engage in the depraved world of online child pornography is unmatched by our resolve to seek out and arrest those who willfully contribute to the sexual exploitation and torture of children to satisfy their own twisted impulses,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “File sharing is just as damaging as the act itself, and the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and our partners will continue to make our mission to root out child predators paramount.”
In 2007, Wenng pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and was sentenced to three years in state prison. He was required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to five years of probation.
Deputy Attorney General McGovern is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Julia S. Glass. Attorney General Grewal commended the detectives and agents who investigated for the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Old Bridge Township Police Department.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the 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 contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Jack Venturi, Esq., New Brunswick, N.J.
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