FLEMINGTON, NJ (Hunterdon County) – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that a Hunterdon County man was sentenced to state prison Wednesday after being convicted at trial of using a file-sharing network to distribute images of children being sexually exploited. He was one of 40 offenders arrested in “Operation Statewide,” a child protection operation by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, which includes the New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and numerous state, county and local law enforcement agencies.
John M. Rudy, 57, of Flemington was sentenced to seven years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Angela F. Borkowski in Hunterdon County. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Rudy was found guilty on Jan. 14 in a jury trial of second-degree charges of distribution of 25 or more items of child pornography and storing or maintaining 25 or more items of child pornography using a file-sharing network, and third-degree possession of 100 or more items of child pornography.
“By sharing child sexual abuse materials online, this defendant participated in a criminal network that promotes and perpetuates the brutal sexual exploitation of children,” Grewal said. “Our multi-agency efforts to patrol the internet and put these offenders in prison reflect our commitment to protect children and ensure justice for those who have been victimized.I commend our attorneys and trial team, as well as all of the detectives and investigators who helped secure this prison sentence.”
“We will continue to work with the State Police and law enforcement at all levels to disrupt the online market for these vile materials and send those who distribute them to prison,” Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice said. “We are sending a loud and clear message that those who commit these crimes will face serious consequences.”
“The criminals who operate these file-sharing networks online depicting child pornography are no less dangerous than those who peddle narcotics on the street. Their enterprise thrives on the pain and suffering of the victims and their families, and their deplorable behavior is a scourge on society,” Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police said. “We will continue to lead the charge against those who target our children by working cooperatively with our federal, state and local partners, whose collective resolve to bring child predators to justice is unwavering.”
While monitoring a peer-to-peer file-sharing network popular with sex offenders, a detective of the New Jersey State Police DTIU downloaded more than 50 items of child sexual exploitation material from a shared folder at a computer IP address that was subsequently traced to Rudy. Rudy was arrested on June 9, 2016 when members of the DTIU, assisted by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office and the Raritan Township Police Department, executed a search warrant at his home and seized numerous devices, including a desktop computer, 97 flash drives, and eight SD cards. Forensic examinations revealed the flash drives and SD cards contained child sexual exploitation material, and one contained over 100 items of such material.
Operation Statewide was a multi-agency child protection operation coordinated by the New Jersey State Police, as lead agency for the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, which led to arrests of 40 men in 2016, including defendants in every county of New Jersey. During the operation, investigators linked all of the defendants to alleged use of the internet to download and distribute child sexual abuse materials. Peer to Peer, or P2P, file sharing networks play a major role in the distribution of such materials.
Because many of the videos and photos of child sexual abuse shared on these networks keep recirculating, they result in the perpetual re-victimization of the children who were sexually assaulted or abused to produce them.
Grewal commended the attorneys and staff in the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau who prosecuted Rudy, as well as all members of the New Jersey State Police DTIU and other agencies in the ICAC Task Force who conducted Operation Statewide, including the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office and Raritan Township Police Department.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials 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 contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.