By: Yuritza Arroyo
According to Atlantic County officials, since June, detectives from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, along with partner law enforcement agencies, have charged a total of 97 defendants with various offenses involving the exploitation of children and the failure of previously convicted sex offenders to comply with Megan’s Law.
Officials say, during the past six months, the primary focus of the Prosecutor’s Office has been to aggressively pursue those who harm children and to seek justice for the victims and families impacted by child abuse.
“It is often difficult to identify and charge offenders in these types of cases because they often operate in the shadows, and there are rarely third-party witnesses.
A child’s courage in telling law enforcement what happened is critical.
The detective's work in gathering evidence after a child discloses is often the key to making the case. The efforts of these dedicated officers from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Crimes Against Children Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Megan’s Law Unit, and our partner agencies over the last six months have been phenomenal,” said Prosecutor William Reynolds.
According to officials, local law enforcement partners from throughout the county have charged 70 individuals with offenses including child luring, endangering a child by sexual conduct, and assault.
Officials say, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is comprised of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office High Technology Criminal Investigation Unit and members of The United States Department of Homeland Security.
Since June, task force members have charged five Atlantic County adults and referred one case for Federal prosecution.
Furthermore, Megan’s Law enforcement Unit, along with local law enforcement throughout the county, have charged a total of 18 Atlantic County residents with violating various conditions of Megan’s law to include failing to register or failing to register a change in address.
“Offenders be on notice,” Reynolds said.
“Whether they distribute or possess child sex exploitation materials through the supposed ‘anonymity’ of the internet or engage in other criminal behavior toward a child, law enforcement has the ability and the will to locate you and bring you to justice.
Atlantic County residents should be assured that this agency, in cooperation with all our partner law enforcement agencies, will investigate these cases diligently and with a high level of commitment in order to bring those responsible to justice.”