TRENTON, N.J. – A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Monday to distributing child pornography from a massive online collection of photos and videos found on his laptop, including images of children being raped. The guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
Daniel Allen Jr., 23, of Voorhees, N.J., pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting the manufacture of child pornography, distributing child pornography and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to seven years in prison.
"HSI will not tolerate those who exploit our children and deprive them of their innocence," said Andrew McLees, special agent in charge of HSI Newark. "Through partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies, HSI will continue to vigorously investigate child exploitation cases like this one."
According to court documents, HSI special agents monitoring a foreign-based website noticed a user had posted hundreds of photos of the same two preteen girls to the site. The poster urged individuals who frequented the site to "comment dirty" and digitally combine the photos with child pornography. The girls were clothed in the posted photos, but the user’s desire to see them incorporated into child pornography raised serious concerns about the girls’ safety. HSI immediately moved to trace the communications and identified Allen and his victims.
Law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Allen’s home Aug. 11. They seized his laptop computer and a USB flash drive. A forensic examination of his computer equipment revealed that he possessed approximately 15,000 still images of child pornography and approximately 200 videos of child pornography. Some of the videos and images depicted prepubescent children being tortured and raped. Allen’s email account revealed he had had exchanged child pornography with others on the foreign website and had received child pornography that had been digitally combined with his images of the preteen girls. Law enforcement officers and HSI special agents arrested Allen the same day.
Allen is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 13.
"Demand for child pornography directly drives the sexual abuse of children," said John J. Hoffman, New Jersey acting attorney general. "That is why these cases are such a priority for us, and why the refrain that simply viewing child pornography online is a victimless crime is as offensive as it is misguided. The users who share these perverse materials motivate the suppliers who produce them, and their use is often part of a continuum of deviant behavior that can lead to sexual assaults against children, as we have seen with some of the leads produced in this case."
"When investigators learned that Allen was exploiting two young girls and exposing them to harm on the Internet, they moved swiftly to arrest him and protect the victims," said Elie Honig, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. "Meanwhile, we continued to pursue leads related to the foreign website Allen was using and the pedophiles who communicated with him. We want anyone who shares child pornography on the Internet to know that we have the technology to detect them, and when we do, we’ll prosecute them to the full extent of the law."
The New Jersey State Police and the Voorhees Police Department assisted in the investigation. Leads generated by this investigation resulted in the arrests of six additional people.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or its online resource for reporting child sexual exploitation.
HSI is a founding member and the U.S. representative of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.