Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman announced the arrests Monday. He said each suspect used file-sharing software to make "multiple files" of child porn available for other users to download from shared folders.
Those charged range in age from 24 to 66 and the come from all walks of life, including an engineer, a mail carrier, an auto mechanic and a retiree. Hoffman said one suspect threw a computer down a stairwell in an attempt to destroy the hard drive, while another had an illegal assault rifle in his bedroom. .
Hoffman said the charges stem from the first significant child porn sweep conducted under New Jersey's stricter child pornography law, which was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie on Aug. 14. The new law increased the punishment for virtually all child pornography offenses and brought New Jersey law into much closer alignment with federal law.
Hoffman said the arrests occurred over several weeks, starting Sept. 30 and concluding last Thursday, and numerous state, county and local law enforcement agencies were involved in the operation.
"We are coming down hard on offenders who, by sharing these vile materials, support and encourage the sexual predators who rape and abuse children to create them," Hoffman said. "The claim that viewing child pornography online is a victimless crime is yet another affront to the victims whose images and cries can never be erased from the Internet. Each time we identify a viewer who has re-victimized children by taking perverse pleasure in their agony, we will seek justice for that crime."