NEWARK, N.J. – A Manalapan, New Jersey, man who was previously employed by a family amusement center in Freehold, New Jersey, was arrested Thursday for allegedly convincing children to engage in sexually explicit conduct online. The arrest follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Angelo Curato, 26, is charged by complaint with one count of producing visual depictions of a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Curato is expected to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Curato used online applications, including Skype, to interact with dozens of boys while pretending to be a 17-year-old girl. During these online communications, Curato received naked pictures of the children and watched them engage in sexually explicit conduct on video.
On June 2, 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Curato’s residence. A forensic review of Curato’s laptop revealed hundreds of sexually explicit chat messages on his Skype accounts and hundreds of screenshots of boys engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The charge of producing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
Anyone with information regarding possible victims of this activity is urged to contact 866-DHS-2-ICE.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of HSI Newark, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Repole of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 16,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2016, more than 2,600 child predators were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 800 victims identified or rescued.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196.
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.
For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page. HSI is a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.