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Child Exploitation

Cape May man arrested for distributing child pornography

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents along with the New Jersey State Police and the N.J. Division of Criminal Justice arrested a Cape May, N.J., man who used a file sharing network to distribute images and videos of child pornography.

Aaron N. Debarardnis, 25, of Cape May, was arrested Thursday. He was charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography and fourth-degree possession of child pornography.

The investigation was initiated by HSI special agents in August 2011. While monitoring Internet activity, special agents downloaded computer files of child pornography, including still images and videos, which they traced to a computer in Debarardnis' mobile home. Debarardnis allegedly used peer-to-peer file sharing software to make over 100 files of child pornography available for any other user to download from a designated "share folder" on his computer. In October 2011, special agents from HSI approached Debarardnis at his residence and seized his computer. An examination of the computer revealed hundreds of videos and thousands of still images of child pornography.

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.