Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a Flemington man pleaded guilty today to charges including first-degree manufacturing of child pornography for soliciting underage girls online, including an autistic girl, to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves.
According to officials, Thomas A. Pirretti, 34, of Flemington, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Angela F. Borkowski in Hunterdon County to manufacturing child pornography, distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography and two counts of debauching the morals of a child. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Pirretti be sentenced to five years in state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Sentencing for Pirretti is scheduled for Feb. 2.
“Pirretti is yet another case in point illustrating that those who share child pornography online often move on to hands-on conduct against children,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Even after being arrested for child pornography, Pirretti was out on the internet, stalking young girls and deceiving a very vulnerable victim into sending him sexually explicit photos of herself. This guilty plea will remove him from our communities to a place where he can no longer harm children.”
The investigation revealed that Pirretti met the autistic victim, a 16-year-old California resident, on the Nintendo Network in October 2014. After obtaining her phone number, Pirretti called the girl repeatedly and solicited her to send him sexually explicit photos of herself. He also asked her to send photos of herself engaging in sexual activity with her younger female cousin. He told the victim that he would be her boyfriend if she complied with his demands.
In response to his demands, the victim sent Pirretti at least 10 nude images of herself. When the victim’s mother learned about the conduct, she alerted local police, who traced the calls to New Jersey and notified the Division of Criminal Justice.
In November 2014, Pirretti solicited an 11-year-old Colorado girl to send him naked photos of herself. As in the previous instance, he met the victim on the Nintendo Network and obtained her phone number. He then called her repeatedly and asked her to send him nude photos of herself. That victim did not send any photos. When the victim’s father learned about the phone calls, he alerted local police, who entered the case into the cybertip database of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The phone number of the caller was again traced to Pirretti.
At the time of this conduct, Pirretti already was facing charges of possession and distribution of child pornography stemming from his July 22, 2014 arrest in “Operation Predator Alert,” a joint operation by the Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations. A total of 28 individuals were arrested in Operation Predator Alert, in two separate sweeps, for allegedly using a file-sharing network to download and distribute child pornography, including child rape videos, on the Internet.
That investigation revealed that, between October 2013 and June 2014, Pirretti possessed approximately 1,005 items of child pornography and distributed approximately 750 items of child pornography via email. He engaged in an online chat with another defendant in Operation Predator Alert in which they discussed their desire for prepubescent girls. Pirretti asked if he could pay for sexual activity with the other defendant’s 10-year-old daughter.
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig urged anyone who suspects improper contact by persons communicating with children on the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.