79 child predators and pornography offenders arrested in statewide investigation
Updated: May 21
A camp counselor, swim coach, piano teacher and a Trenton police officer were among 79 alleged child predators and child pornography offenders arrested as part of a nine-month statewide investigation. Operation Safety Net included numerous defendants, ranging in age from 14 to 75, who allegedly amassed and/or distributed large collections of child pornography, including a Morris County IT professional who allegedly had more than 138,000 files of child pornography, and possibly more than 1 million. “The men we arrested lurked in the shadows of the internet and social media, looking for opportunities to sexually assault young children or to view such unspeakable assaults by sharing child pornography,” Porrino said. “We set up a wide safety net in this operation to snare these alleged predators and to protect children, which remains our highest priority. With our new mobile forensics lab and electronics-sniffing dog, we’re even better equipped to uncover the evidence that will keep these offenders behind bars, where they cannot threaten or further exploit vulnerable victims.” A Hammonton man was one of 10 men accused of “hands on” charges. Brandon Morris, 24, allegedly would FaceTime underage girls, instructing them to perform sexual acts and then recording it. He was arrested Oct. 17, and charged by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing child pornography, endangering the welfare of a child by sexual conduct, conveying obscene materials to a child, and possession of child pornography. Led by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the investigation included using a new mobile cyber forensics laboratory and Mega, a new electronics-sniffing dog. Local arrests included Cumberland County brothers Kody, Kyle and Alexander Knotts, ages 22, 23 and 27, respectively. The Millville men allegedly had nearly 5,000 filed of suspected child pornography. They are among 11 defendants who would qualify under a new law going into effect next year that would charge them as second-degree “super-possessors.” That included Morris County IT professional, William Camargo, 48, of Millington, who may have had more than 1 million files on his computer. They cannot be charged under the tough new law, but illustrate how offenders routinely amass huge collections of child pornography, Porrino said. Trenton Police Officer Paul Marinelli, 52, of South Brunswick, was one of 58 others charged with possession or distribution of child pornography. Marinelli is a 23-year veteran of the department and was arrested at a training class at the Ewing police department, where he was escorted out in handcuffs, multiple law enforcement sources told NJ.com. Two proactive investigations initiated by the New Jersey State Police extended beyond the state – with assistance from other state and federal authorities – to apprehend defendants charged with allegedly attempting to arrange the interstate trafficking of young children for sex:
George Castillo, 36, of Inglewood, Calif., faces federal charges of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and production of child pornography, as well as New Jersey charges including first-degree conspiracy to commit child trafficking. Castillo allegedly solicited an undercover New Jersey State Police detective – who pretended to be trafficking children – to fly a 4-year-old girl to Los Angeles so he could sexually assault her. He also allegedly solicited an undercover police detective in Washington, D.C., who posed as a father, to bring his “daughter,” 9, to Los Angeles for sex at the same time the undercover from New Jersey was expected to arrive with the other girl. He was arrested on April 4 at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived to meet the girls and their adult escorts. The charges stem from investigations by the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department/FBI Child Exploitation Task Force in Washington, D.C., and, in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, LAX Task Force, and Los Angeles Police Department. The undercover investigators identified Castillo in separate investigations targeting pedophiles using the internet and social media.
Joseph Donohew, 26, of Brownsburg, Indiana, is charged in Indiana with attempted child molestation. He allegedly offered money to an undercover New Jersey State Police detective, whom he met on an instant messaging platform, to have sex with a 9-year-old girl. The undercover represented that he had a daughter, 9, and Donohew allegedly sent him $100 as a down payment to bring the girl to Indiana for sex. Donohew was arrested on July 13 at a gas station in Indiana, where he allegedly was to meet the father and girl. He had purchased a nightgown for the girl depicting characters from a Disney movie he believed was her favorite. The New Jersey State Police worked with the FBI, Brownsburg Police Department, Indiana State Police and Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office in Indiana.
Others arrested as “hands on” offenders were Bayonne camp counselor William Esker, 22, who is charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact for the assault of a 14-year-old girl at the camp. He also is charged with providing obscene material to a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
Donald Beckwith, 34, of Browns Mills, is charged in Delaware with sexual solicitation of a minor and attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact with a minor. Beckwith, a captain in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey, met a girl, 14, through an online chat group for children and allegedly engaged her in sexual conversations, ultimately asking her to meet him in person. He allegedly met the girl twice in Delaware. The first time, he allegedly reached under her shirt and tried to touch her breast, and the second time he allegedly hugged her and repeatedly asked her to lie on a bed in the back of his vehicle and watch a movie with him. The New Jersey State Police arrested Beckwith on Aug. 16 in an investigation initiated by the Delaware State Police. Detectives allegedly found over 10 nude images of an underage girl on his phone.
Michael DeBlock, 22, of Hopatcong, a youth minister, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office with possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a child. DeBlock allegedly exchanged sexual photos and texts with a girl, 14, including a photo of his penis.
A 17-year-old student from Bergen County, whose name is not being released due to his juvenile status, was arrested on Aug. 17 and charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing, distributing and possessing child pornography, as well as invasion of privacy. The juvenile allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography on his electronic devices, including video recordings he allegedly made by hiding his smartphone in a private bathroom in order to record underage boys who were nude, showering or urinating.
Craig Kirschner, 39, of Marlboro, was arrested on Aug. 21 and charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with luring a child, attempted sexual assault of a minor, and conveying obscene material to a minor. Kirschner allegedly solicited an undercover detective, whom he believed to be a 15-year-old male, to meet for oral sex. The detective was monitoring a mobile app when he encountered Kirschner. After the undercover detective identified himself as a 15-year-old boy, Kirschner allegedly sent him photos of an erect penis, asked him to meet for oral sex, and stated “I can be generous for your trouble.”
Isaac Toney, 40, of Trenton, arrested July 17 by the New Jersey State Police and charged with luring a child. He allegedly used a mobile app to solicit an undercover detective, whom he believed was a 14-year-old male, for oral sex. He was arrested at Veterans Park in Hamilton, Mercer County, where he allegedly was to meet the “boy” for a sexual encounter.
Robert Elmi, 63, of Gillette, was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on Nov. 9 on a charge of luring a child. Elmi had placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting a relationship with a younger female. An undercover State Police detective responded, posing as a young girl and indicating to Elmi that she was 13. Elmi allegedly communicated with the “13-year-old” for several weeks by text and email, ultimately arranging to meet her at a diner. He allegedly told the “girl” he would take her back to his apartment, where they would drink, watch TV, kiss and perform oral sex on each other. Elmi was arrested by the State Police at the diner.
Those categorized as “super possessors” of child pornography are:
Callen Kapschock, 55, of Hamilton, Mercer County, a mechanic, allegedly had more than 10,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Md F. Uddin, 43, of Elizabeth an engineer, allegedly had more than 5,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Laurence Duque, 42, of Dayton, allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Gregory Piszczek, 35, of Woodbridge, an IT professional, allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Kevin Groeger, 63, of Cranford, a postal worker, allegedly had over 2,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Pasquale “Charles” Albano, 75, of Point Pleasant., allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography
The remaining arrests were for possession and/or distribution, including Toms River piano teacher Bryan San Andreas, 37, for possession. In Atlantic County: Anthony Gerace, 43, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with distribution, and Antonio Baang, 26, of Galloway Township, was charged with possession. In Cumberland County: Julio Garcia, 29, of Bridgeton, was charged with possession and distribution, and John Parsons, 50, of Vineland, was charged with possession. Robert King, 63, of North Wildwood, was charged with possession and distribution.
Also charged were
James Cutrone, 54, of Hazlet, a youth swim coach, distribution
Donald Williams, 39, of Camden, distribution
Kevin Wenng, 35, of Cliffwood Beach, possession
Victor Kurynow, 58, of Bedminster, attempted possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a minor
Paul Fuhs, 44, of Laurel Springs, possession
Ryan Stemetzki, 26, of Maple Shade, possession and distribution
Robert Ruff, 56, of Delran, possession
Jason Locke, 42, of Manchester, possession
Stephen Slawinski, 60, of Morris Plains, possession and distribution
Herbert Ferreira, 43, of Dover, possession and distribution
Joseph Maruca, 26, of Berkeley Township, possession
James Gilbertson, 60, of Manchester, possession
Christopher Todd, 49, of Lyndhurst, possession and distribution
Alexis Gonzalez, 28, of Hackensack, possession
Raul Rodriguez, 33, of Jersey City, possession
Dhanendhran Govender, 32, of East Windsor, possession and distribution
Luis Pacheco-Loja, 30, of Belleville, possession and distribution
Robert White, 66, of Morristown, possession and distribution
Jonathan Latiff 40, of Jersey City, possession and distribution
Richard Lake, 65, of Trenton, possession and distribution
Federico Flores, 29, of Rahway, possession and distribution
James Agin, 69, of Westwood, possession and distribution
Fortino Rosales-Rodriguez, 22, of Oaklyn, possession
Justin Saavedra, 22, of Clifton, distribution
Daniel Braz, 39, of South River, possession and distribution
Nelson Cintron, Jr., 54, of Collingswood, possession and distribution
Michael Brown, 28, of Pennsauken, possession and distribution
Erik Baez, 38, of Sicklerville, possession and distribution
Larry Gonzalez, 45, of Elizabeth, possession and distribution
Erik Johnson, 49, charged by Union County Prosecutor’s Office , possession and distribution
Marco Biason, 68, of Dover, possession
Brian Neilson, 55, of Metuchen, possession
Thomas Smith, 54, of Woodstown, possession and distribution
Zachary Brawer, 31, of Paramus, possession and distribution
Brian J. Gardner, 74, of Nutley, possession and distribution
John T. Ruffner, 37, of Lumberton, possession
John Skubiak, 62, of Deptford, possession and distribution
Nicholas J. Novak, 66, of Ocean Township, Monmouth County, possession and distribution
Eric MacAfee, 41, of Seaside Heights, possession
Jeison Padilla, 29, of Somerville, possession and conveying obscene materials to a minor.
Justin England, 31, of North Plainfield, possession and distribution
Eric Yourish, 61, of North Plainfield, possession
Christopher Dunham, 22, of Rockaway, possession and distribution
Justin Piccola, 23, of Randolph, possession and distribution
Nicolas Bencze, 36, of Maywood, possession and distribution
Michael Yosco, 70, of Garfield, possession
Male Juvenile, age 14, of Bergen County, possession
Joseph Lawitz, 34, of Hamilton, possession
James Livas, 22, of Hopatcong, , possession and distribution
Robert Fuscarino, 27, of Hopatcong, possession and distribution
Donovan Roots, 19, of Pilesgrove, possession and distribution