NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 480 months in prison for coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he photographed the abuse. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Felix Restitullo, 42, of Jersey City, was convicted in May 2017 of one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography following a two-week trial.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
Restitullo resided with his mother, who acted as caregiver to children, including the victim, an underage girl. On March 13, 2014, as a result of an ongoing investigation into the sexual abuse of minor children, law enforcement officers interviewed the victim, who told the officers that Restitullo had sexually abused her and photographed it.
Restitullo was arrested and charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of the girl. In connection with his arrest, officers searched Restitullo’s bedroom and recovered a camera and multiple electronic media devices belonging to Restitullo.
A forensic examination of the devices was performed, and law enforcement agents identified photographs that depicted the victim’s sexual abuse saved on a thumb drive found in Restitullo’s closet. Agents identified more than 3,000 images and more than 350 videos of child sexual abuse.
In addition to the prison term, Restitullo was sentenced to lifetime supervised release.
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.