TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that an Ocean County man who had over 36,000 videos and images of child pornography on his computer devices pleaded guilty today to distributing child pornography. He was one of 40 men arrested in 2016 in “Operation Statewide,” a child pornography sweep 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.
Anthony White, 31, of Lakewood, N.J., pleaded guilty today to second-degree charges of distributing child pornography and attempting to manufacture child pornography before Superior Court Judge Linda Baxter in Ocean County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that White be sentenced to six years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. White is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8.
Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks prosecuted White and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
In pleading guilty, White admitted that he knowingly used file-sharing software to make 25 or more files of child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a “shared folder” on his computer. He further admitted in connection with the attempted manufacturing charge that he tried to reproduce images of child pornography that he previously downloaded. 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 38 videos and images of child pornography from a shared folder at a computer IP address later traced to White. White was arrested on July 20, 2016, when members of the DTIU and State Police TEAMS Unit executed a search warrant at his home and seized computer devices, including a desktop computer. A forensic preview of the devices revealed over 36,000 videos and images of child pornography, one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized by law enforcement in New Jersey.
“Each time we arrest an offender like White with thousands upon thousands of files of child pornography, it highlights the alarming scope of this problem and the number of children who are cruelly victimized and re-victimized in the creation and distribution of these abhorrent materials,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This plea reflects our resolve to use New Jersey’s tough child pornography laws to seek lengthy prison terms for those who participate in these crimes.”
“As long as offenders perpetuate the sexual exploitation of children by viewing and sharing these materials online, we’ll continue to patrol the internet with our law enforcement partners to arrest them,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We must continue to deliver the message that these are serious crimes that carry serious penalties.”
“Due to his twisted obsession, Anthony White amassed one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized by New Jersey law enforcement,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I am very proud of the investigative efforts of the State Police Digital Technology Unit and our law enforcement partners.”
Operation Statewide was a 2016 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. The operation resulted in arrests of 40 men, including defendants in every county of New Jersey. During the operation, investigators monitored Peer to Peer, or P2P, file-sharing networks popular with child pornography offenders. Such networks play a major role in the distribution of child pornography, functioning in the same manner as websites used for privately sharing music or movies. Because 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. Law enforcement has cataloged a large number of these images and videos, and the electronic files can be traced in various ways. During Operation Statewide, detectives downloaded child pornography that defendants offered from shared folders on their computers, tracing the files to their point of origin.
Attorney General Grewal 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 Deputy Attorney General Weeks and all of the other attorneys who participated in the investigations and are prosecuting the resulting cases.
Attorney General Grewal 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.
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