TRENTON, NJ – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Union County man and a Monmouth County man were sentenced to state prison for distributing videos and images of child pornography online. Both men were arrested during investigations targeting individuals using an online peer-to-peer network popular with offenders who share child pornography. One was arrested in “Operation Safeguard,” a child pornography sweep conducted last year by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the New Jersey State Police.
Each of these two men previously pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree distribution of child pornography (storing or maintaining child pornography using a file-sharing program) filed by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau:
Burt G. Harvey-Martinez, 35, of Elizabeth, N.J., was sentenced Friday, Aug. 25, to six years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Lisa Walsh in Union County.
William Morgan, 61, of Manalapan, N.J., was sentenced Friday, Aug. 25, to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Richard W. English in Monmouth County. Morgan was arrested in Operation Safeguard.
Both men will be required to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo prosecuted Harvey-Martinez, and Deputy Attorney General Brandy Malfitano prosecuted Morgan. Deputy Attorney General Alyssa Bloom handled the sentencing of Morgan.
“These men joined the depraved network of criminals who directly drive the sexual exploitation and torture of children by distributing child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’re making it a top priority to lock up these offenders who wantonly victimize children.”
“Through sweeps like Operation Safeguard, we will continue to deliver the message that viewing and distributing child pornography is a serious crime that will be met with stern punishment,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We have the technology and the will to find these offenders wherever they hide and put them behind bars.”
“Sharing videos and images of children being raped, tortured and abused is just as despicable as the very acts,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to safeguard children by exposing these animals who hide behind the veil of a computer screen.”
During Operation Safeguard, special agents of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police monitored several online file-sharing networks that are popular with offenders who download and trade child pornography. Using advanced technology, the investigators searched for telltale digital “fingerprints” of known child pornography, as well as search terms used by those who download and share child pornography. Through these and other methods, they identified New Jersey residents who were downloading child pornography and making child pornography available to others in “shared folders” on their computers.
Morgan was arrested on March 24, 2016, when agents and detectives conducting Operation Safeguard executed a search warrant at his residence in Manalapan. Detectives monitoring a peer-to-peer network had associated him with more than 200 files of suspected child pornography. During the search, detectives seized computer equipment belonging to Morgan that contained numerous files of child pornography, including files store in a shared folder where they were readily available for any other user to download using file-sharing software.
Harvey-Martinez was arrested on July 19, 2016 in a separate but similar investigation targeting users sharing child pornography on a file-sharing network. Detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice downloaded several files of child pornography from an IP address traced to Harvey-Martinez. They then executed a search warrant at his residence in Elizabeth, where they seized his laptop computer, which contained numerous videos and images of child pornography. A forensic preview of the laptop revealed approximately 1,459 files of suspected child pornography in a shared folder. The Elizabeth Police Department assisted in the operation.
Former Detective Tiffany Lenart and Detectives Laura Hurley, Richard DaSilva Jr., and Charles Pusloski investigated the cases for the Division of Criminal Justice, in collaboration with HSI agents and detectives of the New Jersey State Police.
Attorney General Porrino 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.
For Harvey-Martinez: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Andy Hammond Murray, Union County
For Morgan: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Ryan Moriarty, Monmouth County