Twenty-five people have been arrested in New Jersey after a three month investigation into the possession and distribution of child pornography.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office announced the arrests today and revealed the names of those arrested under “Operation Ever Vigilant.”
New Jersey authorities began making arrests from February 18. Among the 25 males arrested is a 17-year-old from Cherry Hill, who is also male and cannot be identified. Officials say five of those arrested had direct contact with children, including two who were regular babysitters. One South Jersey man is also a registered sex offender.
The defendants were rounded up in 25 towns across New Jersey. Each has been charged with second degree distribution of child pornography and fourth degree possession of child pornography, ABC News reports.
Prosecutors say the material retrieved from a five day sweep produced a bank of downloaded child pornography images including multiple child rape videos. In addition, the files also showed prepubescent boys and girls being sexually molested or being forced into performing sex acts on themselves or others.
Illegal videos and images were passed among users via email and file sharing networks, and each defendant was found to be in possession of a number of sexually explicit videos of young children, said The Philadelphia Inquirer.
In a press conference today, New Jersey Attorney General Jeffery S. Chiesa, said:
“Anyone who views and distributes child pornography — particularly the type of child rape videos targeted in this operation — puts himself in league with the predators who sexually assault children to create these videos.
“The children they watch being tortured are violated again by their actions, and these offenders may pose a danger to other children because of their predilections.”
Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, added:
“Everyone sitting in the seclusion of their darkened homes viewing child rape videos has victimized these innocents by creating the market for this disgusting material.”
For more information on those charged visit the NJ Attorney General’s Office website: