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Child Exploitation

New Jersey man admits distributing images of child sexual abuse via Blackberry

TRENTON, N.J. – Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a New Jersey man pleaded guilty Monday to using his BlackBerry smartphone to distribute images of child sexual abuse. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Asbury Park (New Jersey) Police Department and the Mineral County (Nevada) Sheriff's Department assisted in the investigation.

John Nutt, 55, of Asbury Park, N.J., pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of distribution of child pornography.

According to court documents, on April 10, 2011, a woman in Nevada received an image of child pornography on her cell phone via picture message from a phone number not known to her. When she reported this event to Nevada law enforcement, officers determined that the phone number belonged to Nutt, and that Nutt lived in Asbury Park.

On May 19, 2011, officers executed a search warrant at Nutt's residence and seized his BlackBerry smartphone, which had been used to distribute and receive child pornography.

On the distribution count, Nutt faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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 and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

The charge and allegations contained in the information are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.