TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that an Essex County man was sentenced to prison today for offering child pornography on the Internet. He was among 27 defendants arrested in 2012 as a result of “Operation Watchdog,” a multi-agency investigation led by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice that targeted offenders who distributed known images and videos of child pornography on the Internet.
Asaf P. Guttman, 42, of Bloomfield, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Richard T. Sules in Essex County. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 31 to second-degree offering of child pornography, a charge contained in a 2014 indictment. Guttman will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Deputy Attorney General Anand Shah prosecuted Guttman and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, Guttman admitted that prior to his arrest on April 13, 2012, he knowingly used Internet file-sharing software to make one or more files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer. Detectives with the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit downloaded 31 images of child pornography from a shared folder on Guttman’s computer, including images of prepubescent girls being molested and raped. A search warrant executed by the State Police and other members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at Guttman’s residence revealed evidence of numerous files of child pornography on a personal computer in a storage room in the basement that he could access remotely from another computer.
“Those who view and share child pornography re-victimize the innocent children who are shown being horrifically abused, and they directly motivate further crimes against children,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By imprisoning offenders like Guttman, we hammer home the seriousness of these crimes and our resolve to punish those responsible.”
“Offenders like Guttman think they can hide their abhorrent crimes in the dark corners of their basements,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “But we want them to know that we can detect their file-sharing activity online and trace the child pornography right to their homes, where we will arrest them.”
Guttman was charged in Operation Watchdog, a multi-agency investigation in which one woman and 26 men were arrested in March and April of 2012 on charges of distribution and possession of child pornography. The New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigation Unit coordinated the investigation, which also involved the Division of Criminal Justice and 19 other law enforcement agencies. The State Police Technical Emergency and Mission Specialists (TEAMS) Unit assisted in executing search warrants.
Detectives linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the Internet to download and distribute images of 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 involved in Operation Watchdog tracked transferred files to their origin and destination locations.
All of the New Jersey agencies that partnered in Operation Watchdog are members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Additionally, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI assisted with the investigation and execution of warrants. Acting Attorney General Hoffman also thanked the Bloomfield Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their valuable assistance.
The case was investigated for the New Jersey State Police by Detective Erin Micciula, who was the lead detective for the Digital Technology Investigation Unit, Lt. Cy Bleistine, Detective Mike Williams, Detective Paul Sciortino, Detective Jose Samol and Lt. Denman Powers.
Acting Attorney General Hoffman 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.