CAMDEN, N.J. – A New Jersey man was charged Thursday with receiving and distributing child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Gerrett Conover, 47, of Woolwich Township, N.J., is charged with one count of receipt and distribution of child pornography.
According to court documents, HSI special agents in Boston discovered various individuals corresponding via the Internet about engaging in sexually explicit conduct with children. Leads were sent out from Boston throughout the United States, including a lead pertaining to Conover. The evidence from the Boston investigation showed that Conover engaged in sexually explicit chats with another individual in 2010 and that the two men traded child pornography.
Conover was arrested entering the United States from Canada on Sept.16, 2012, and was in possession of a computer allegedly containing more than 50 images of child pornography. Also uncovered was an additional Internet chat in which Conover acknowledged having a long-term relationship with a boy while the boy was 10 to 17 years of age. During the Internet chat, Conover allegedly stated that he served as a Boy Scout leader and obtained access to the boy after Boy Scout meetings and during trips.
Special agents obtained search warrants for Conover's home and recovered various computers, hard drives and electronic devices, including a laptop computer that, through a preliminary investigation, was found to contain at least 10 images of alleged child pornography. In addition, special agents found numerous materials allegedly establishing Conover's involvement in the Boy Scouts from 1990 to 2000.
Anyone with any information regarding Conover or this investigation is asked to call the HSI Tipline at 1-866-DHS2-ICE.
If convicted, Conover faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.