EHT High School diving coach charged with child pornography
Updated: Feb 19
An Egg Harbor Township High School teacher’s aide and diving coach allegedly used Snapchat to share images of the abuse and sexual exploitation of children. Mark Balesteri Jr., 29, of Egg Harbor Township was arrested Thursday, after a months-long investigation into his online activity, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said. Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office and Egg Harbor Township Police Department came to Balesteri’s township home with a “knock-and-announce” warrant Thursday morning. “Sadly, the transmission of child pornography is a pervasive problem throughout our community that does not always receive enough attention,” Tyner said. “Child predators lurk behind their computer screens and exploit defenseless children with the stroke of a keyboard. These predators occupy many positions of trust from teachers and coaches to many other professions. “The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office remains vigilant in rooting them out,” he added. In a news release, Balesteri was identified as a swimming coach, but those close with the program have clarified that he coached diving. Balesteri is charged with distribution of child abuse and sexual exploitation images, and two counts of possession of those images. All are second-degree charges, which carry five- to 10-year prison sentences, if convicted. The investigation was initiated from information received by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office through the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program. The Task Force helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children. The Task Force is coordinated on the national level by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and on the State level by the New Jersey State Police.
A high school diving coach facing child pornography charges referred to himself as a pedophile when detectives questioned him, according to the prosecutor in the case.Mark Balesteri Jr. … Read more