NEWARK, N.J. – A North Brunswick, New Jersey, man who transmitted an image of child sexual abuse to an undercover agent was arrested today and charged with distributing child pornography, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Authorities said Mr. Richard Scalea, 59, was arrested by agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force and charged by criminal complaint with one count of distributing child pornography.
He made his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion in Newark federal court and was detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Authorities said on Aug. 31, 2017, Scalea communicated with an undercover law enforcement officer via an online incest chat room. In that chat, Scalea claimed to have sexually abused a minor child who was known to him.
Scalea then distributed an image of child pornography to the undercover law enforcement officer.
Today, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Scalea’s residence and seized computer devices containing multiple images of child sexual abuse.
Anyone with information regarding possible victims of this activity is urged to contact the FBI in Newark at 973-792-3000.
The charge of distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.