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UPDATE: Elizabeth Man Gets Eight Years for Distributing Explicit Images of Minors


Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Union County man was sentenced to prison today as a result of his trial conviction for using file-sharing software to share Explicit Images of Minors from his computer devices, which contained approximately 2,900 images and videos. Police said he was arrested in 2014 in Operation Predator Alert, a multi-agency Explicit Images of Minors sweep.

Officials said Jerrel D. Harris, 32, of Elizabeth, was sentenced to eight years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann in Union County.

Authorities found Harris guilty on Jan. 24 of second-degree distribution of Explicit Images of Minors, second-degree offering Explicit Images of Minors (storing or maintaining Explicit Images of Minors using a file-sharing program), and third-degree possession of Explicit Images of Minors. Harris must register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.

Officials said Harris was one of 28 defendants charged in Operation Predator Alert, a joint operation by the Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations that targeted New Jersey offenders who used a file-sharing network to distribute Explicit Images of Minors online.

“By sharing Explicit Images of Minors online, this defendant made himself part of a distribution network that promotes and perpetuates the brutal sexual exploitation of children,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Our multi-agency efforts to patrol the internet and put these offenders in prison are all about protecting children and ensuring justice for those who have been victimized.”

“ThroughExplicit Images of Minors sweeps like Operation Predator Alert, we have delivered an unmistakable message that those who share Explicit Images of Minors online are sharing evidence of their crimes with law enforcement, and they will be aggressively prosecuted,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We’re doing everything in our power to disrupt this online market.”

According to authorities, a detective who was monitoring the file-sharing network downloaded a video of a girl, believed to be 2 to 4 years of age, being raped by an adult male. The video was in a shared folder at an IP address that was traced to Harris. On July 14, 2014, detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, assisted by the New Jersey State Police, Elizabeth.

Police and other law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Harris’ residence in Elizabeth. Investigators seized a laptop computer that was found to contain Explicit Images of Minors. A full forensic examination by ICE Homeland Security Investigations of the laptop and other confiscated devices revealed approximately 2,900 images and videos of Explicit Images of Minors. He had around 1,400 files of Explicit Images of Minors in a shared folder on his computer where other users could download them.

The file-sharing networks used by offenders to distribute Explicit Images of Minors 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 Explicit Images of Minors keep recirculating, they result in the perpetual re-victimization of the children who were sexually assaulted or abused to produce them.

Attorney General Grewal and Director Honig 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 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 ‪888-648-6007‬.