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Sussex County man admits distribution of child pornography

FRANKLIN BOROUGH, NJ (Sussex County) – A Sussex County man admitted distributing videos and images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Wednesday.

Gaetano Lapegna, 65, of Franklin Borough pleaded guilty on March 5 before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to one count of distribution of child pornography, Sellinger said.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from December 2022 to March 2023, Lapegna distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse via a publicly available online peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program.

During the course of the investigation, an undercover law enforcement officer conducted online sessions using the P2P program, during which a user shared hundreds of videos and images of child sexual abuse from an IP address traced to Lapegna’s address.

Subsequent to a lawful search of his residence on March 30, 2023, law enforcement officers recovered over 100 items depicting child pornography on Lapegna’s thumb drive. Law enforcement also found that Lapegna’s computer was running the same version of the P2P program from which law enforcement downloaded child pornography from Lapegna.

The count of distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 23.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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