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Former Dunellen School Board President Sentenced for Possession of Explicit Images


Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a former president of the Dunellen Board of Education was sentenced today for possessing numerous files of explicit images of minors on his personal computers.

According to authorities, Phillip C. Heiney, 69, of Dunellen, was sentenced to four years of probation by Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. in Middlesex County.

The state recommended a jail term of up to six months under the plea agreement, but the judge imposed a sentence of non-custodial probation, subject to conditions including required therapy, no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18, and submission to monitoring of his electronic devices by probation officers.

Officials said Heiney pleaded guilty on Feb. 26 to third-degree possession of images of minors.

Authorities said A detective in the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit was monitoring a peer-to-peer file-sharing network popular with offenders who trade explicit images of minors when he identified a computer address that was offering multiple files of explicit images of minors for any user to download from a shared folder.

The detective downloaded two videos from the shared folder in which adult males engaged in sexual acts with prepubescent girls. The IP address sharing the explicit images of minors was traced to Heiney’s residence.

The State Police referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada subsequently alerted the Division of Criminal Justice that they had downloaded a video from a shared folder at Heiney’s IP address showing a man engaging in a sexual act with a prepubescent girl who was blindfolded and bound with rope.

Authorities arrested Heiney on Aug. 23, 2016, when detectives and agents from the Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at his home and found numerous images and videos of explicit images of minors on his computer equipment. The Dunellen Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office assisted in the operation.

“Anyone who contributes to the brutal sexual exploitation of children by collecting explicit images of minors has no business overseeing the education of young students,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Thankfully, through our proactive investigative efforts, he was caught and brought to justice.”

Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of explicit images of minors on the Internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children online or possible exploitation or sexual abuse – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tip line at 888-648-6007.