Steven J. Anan, 56, of Neptune City, N.J., was sentenced today to four years in state prison by Superior Court Leslie-Ann Justus in Monmouth County. He pleaded guilty on June 2 to second-degree distribution of child pornography. Anan will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Deputy Attorney General Marie McGovern took the guilty plea and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, Anan admitted that he knowingly used file sharing software to make multiple files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer. The New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU) downloaded three videos of child pornography from a shared folder on Anan’s computer while monitoring a file-sharing network popular with sex offenders. The videos showed prepubescent girls, including one infant, being raped by adult men. The computer address from which the videos were downloaded was traced to Anan’s residence. Anan was arrested on Feb. 21, 2013, when members of the State Police DTIU, the Division of Criminal Justice, the State Police TEAMS Central Unit and the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force executed a search warrant at his residence and seized his laptop computer. A forensic exam of the laptop revealed more than 90 images and videos of child pornography.
“Those who share child pornography online promote and create a market for the torture and sexual exploitation of innocent children,” said Attorney General Porrino. “The protection of children is among our highest priorities and we’ll work tirelessly to obtain justice for the victims by locking up the predators and perverts who traffic in this filth.”
“We’re putting offenders on notice that as easily as they can download child pornography from each other on these peer-to-peer networks, investigators can download evidence of their crimes,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’ll continue to work with our law enforcement partners to conduct child pornography sweeps like the one that snared this defendant.”
“We want these smut peddlers to understand that even operating in the dark recesses of the Internet under assumed names and bogus IP addresses will not shield them from arrest and prosecution,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit continues to lead the fight against the depraved offenders who perpetuate the brutalization of innocent children by sharing these horrendous images and videos.”
Operation Ever Vigilant was a three-month investigation conducted by the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice, other members of the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and federal agents from the U.S. Postal Service. It resulted in arrests of 24 men and one juvenile male in February 2013.
During the investigation, 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 traced transferred files to their origin and destination locations, downloading child pornography that the defendants allegedly offered from their computers on the P2P network.
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 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.