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Cumberland County Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Pornography on the Internet

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that a Cumberland County man pleaded guilty today to distributing child pornography. He was one of 28 defendants charged in two offender sweeps under Operation Predator Alert, a joint operation by the Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations that targeted offenders in New Jersey who used a file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography, including child rape videos, on the Internet.

Jeffrey Mander, 27, of Bridgeton, pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of child pornography before Superior Court Judge Robert G. Malestein in Cumberland County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to six years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Deputy Attorney General Lilianne Daniel prosecuted Mander and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Mander is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 15, 2016.

In pleading guilty, Mander admitted that prior to his arrest on Oct. 1, 2013, he knowingly used Internet file-sharing software to make files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his laptop computer. The investigating agencies executed a search warrant at Mander’s home, seizing two cell phones and a laptop computer. A forensic examination of the laptop computer at the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Hamilton revealed 289 videos of child pornography located in Mander’s shared folder. The videos showed the rape and sexual abuse of children of both genders, ranging in age from young teens down to toddlers.

During Operation Predator Alert, special agents of HSI monitored an online file-sharing network that is popular with offenders who download and trade child pornography. Using advanced technology, the agents searched for telltale digital “fingerprints” of known child pornography, as well as search terms used by those who download and share child pornography. Through these and other methods, they identified New Jersey residents who were downloading child pornography and making child pornography available to others in “shared folders” on their computers. The files included videos showing pre-pubescent boys and girls being raped or being coerced into performing sexual acts on themselves or others. The Division of Criminal Justice obtained arrest warrants, which they executed with HSI and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

The file-sharing networks used by offenders to distribute child pornography operate in the same manner as websites used for privately sharing music or movies. Those in possession of the illegal images can make them available on computers that they control for others to download. Because many of these videos and photos of child pornography keep recirculating, they result in the perpetual re-victimization of the children who were sexually assaulted or abused to produce them.

Acting Attorney General Hoffman and Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 1-888-648-6007.