TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a repeat child pornography offender was sentenced to state prison today for distributing videos and images of child pornography online using a file-sharing program. He was arrested in “Operation Safety Net,” a multi-agency child protection operation led by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
James R. Agin, 71, of Westwood, N.J., a freelance photographer, was sentenced to six years in prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Frances McGrogan in Bergen County. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 4, 2019 to second-degree distribution of child pornography (storing or maintaining child pornography using a file-sharing program). Agin must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. He pleaded guilty in 2007 in Bergen County to a prior charge of possession of child pornography and was sentenced to probation.
Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard prosecuted Agin and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
“By sending defendants like Agin to prison, we deliver the message that possessing and distributing child pornography are very serious crimes – crimes that create a market for the terrible abuse of innocent children,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This prison sentence reflects our determination to prosecute these offenders aggressively using New Jersey’s tough child pornography laws.”
“Offenders like Agin who distribute child pornography online encourage and perpetuate the cruel sexual exploitation of children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Protecting children is a priority mission, and we are fully committed to these collaborative efforts to investigate and lock up such offenders.”
“The State Police and our partners will continue to relentlessly scour the internet to locate and arrest deviants who, by sharing these images repeatedly, continue to victimize innocent children long after the actual assaults,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police.
Agin was among 79 child predators and child pornography offenders arrested in “Operation Safety Net,” a multi-agency child protection operation that concluded in November 2017. The operation was conducted by the New Jersey Regional 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, all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Ten alleged child predators were arrested in the operation, including eight New Jersey men and two men in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate for sex.
Agin was arrested on Sept. 19, 2017, when detectives and troopers from the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police, assisted by additional members of the ICAC Task Force, executed a search warrant at his residence. Detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice previously had downloaded more than 500 files of child pornography from a shared folder at an IP address traced to Agin. During the search, detectives seized a desktop computer and a laptop computer belonging to Agin. A forensic examination of the devices revealed hundreds of videos and images of child pornography.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone who has information about the distribution of child pornography on the internet – or who suspects improper contact by 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.
Assistant Deputy Public Defender Ilene McFarland, Bergen County