31 Charged In Sex Offender Sting

Photo courtesy State Attorney General's Office

  TRENTON – State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the arrests of 31 people charged with sexually exploiting children online as a result of “Operation 24/7,” meant to catch predators during the COVID pandemic.

  Two men are charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children, and two other men are charged with manufacturing or attempting to manufacture child sexual abuse materials.

  The remaining 27 defendants are charged with possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials, including, in many cases, child rape videos.

  The number of cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online – including tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – remains high during the ongoing COVID emergency, with 3,324 tips received in the first six months of 2021.

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  That is 39 percent higher than the total of 2,393 tips for the entire year in 2019, and on pace to exceed the total of 6,130 for all of 2020, which included 10 months of the COVID pandemic. Many cases in the operation stemmed from NCMEC tips, while others stemmed from law enforcement referrals or proactive online investigations.

  Those arrested in the three-month operation range in age from 18 to 65. They are variously charged with crimes including attempted human trafficking, attempted sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, sharing obscene material with a minor, attempted theft by extortion, and manufacturing, distribution, and possession of child sexual abuse material.

  The arrests, made between April 1 and June 30, 2021, include the following cases (the first few were highlighted by investigators):

  Ryan Olson, 20, of Williamstown, was charged by the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police for allegedly soliciting underage girls to send him sexually explicit images of themselves. Olson allegedly asked underage victims to play a “game” on social media in which he offered prizes and money in exchange for sexually explicit material, with more explicit photos and videos of the victims earning more points.

  One 15-year-old victim allegedly sent Olson a sexually explicit video of herself. He allegedly responded by sending her a sexually explicit photo of himself. The investigation began with a referral related to a victim in the United Kingdom.

  The Williamstown resident is a student and employee of online retailer. Arrested June 29. Manufacturing Child Sexual Abuse Material (1st degree), Sharing Obscene Material with Minor (3rd degree), Impairing or Debauching the Morals of a Child (3rd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Ndachi Ndungu, 25, of Jersey City, allegedly attempted to extort a 12-year-old girl he encountered on the gaming app Discord to send him sexually explicit photos of herself.

  Further investigation by the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice revealed that Ndungu allegedly chatted with numerous other potential victims between the ages of 7 and 15 on Discord. He would obtain an image of the child and then threaten to share it on social media or threaten to report the victim to Discord. Police said he would threaten the children until they agreed to send more explicit photos.

  Arrested May 28. Attempted Manufacturing Child Pornography (2nd degree), Attempted Theft by Extortion (2nd degree).

  Robert Reinhart, 52, of Telford, Pa., was arrested by the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly offering to pay $300 to have sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. During the investigation, Reinhart allegedly communicated via text messages with undercover detectives posing as the adult sister of the girl. The girl did not actually exist. Reinhart was arrested on April 1 after he traveled to West Deptford, allegedly to meet the 14-year-old girl.

  Construction Employee. Arrested April 1. Luring (2nd degree), Attempted Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Attempted Human Trafficking (2nd degree).

  Samuel Santiago, 54, of Carteret, a retired Hudson County corrections officer. Arrested June 30. Impairing or Debauching the Morals of a Child (3rd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree), Criminal Sexual Contact (4th degree).

  He is charged with molesting an underage girl and possession of child sexual abuse material. Santiago allegedly assaulted the victim by touching her genitals both over and under her clothing. After Santiago was arrested, investigators discovered that he had numerous videos of child sexual abuse material on his cell phone.

  Peter Eskow, 45, of Perth Amboy, technology manager. Arrested June 24. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree, over 1,000 items). Eskow allegedly possessed more than 80,000 files of child sexual abuse material on an external hard drive.

  George Oakes, 57, of Belvidere, construction employee. Arrested April 14. Manufacturing Child Sexual Abuse Material (1st degree—allegedly took photos with cell phone of child sexual abuse material on his computer), Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Johnathan Valencia, 36, of Wayne, a restaurant manager. Arrested May 4. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Justin Holtz, 20, of Southampton, farm worker. Arrested June 4. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Jonathan Dunston, 53, of Pemberton, a truck stop employee. Arrested June 4. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Eugene Kim, 20, of Evesham, is a student. Arrested April 16. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Joshua Gamboa, 20, of Bellmawr, is unemployed/U.S. Army Reserve. Arrested April 20. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Matthew Porch, 19, of Cherry Hill, is a student and HVAC technician. Arrested April 23. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  The employment status of Sean McMichael, 38, also of Cherry Hill is unknown. Arrested May 21. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Fabian Cervantes, 18, of West Orange, is a student and restaurant employee. Arrested May 19. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  The employment status of Joshua Hunt, 28, of Paulsboro is unknown. Arrested April 30. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Brian Lusardi, 48, of Glendora, is a skating rink employee. Arrested April 15. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Ryan Becker, 32, of South Amboy, is a warehouse worker. Arrested June 30. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree), Tampering with Evidence (4th degree).

  Derrick J. Anannab, 39, of Holmdel, is a medical assistant. Arrested June 17. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Luis Torres-Mendieta, 31, of Neptune City, is a restaurant employee. Arrested May 27. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Carl Aliwalas, 29, of Neptune Township, is also a restaurant employee. Arrested May 14. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  John Coluzzi, 22, of Manalapan, is a train operator for NJ Transit. Arrested May 5. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Adam Cohen, 45, of Oxford, is unemployed. Arrested on June 30. Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree), Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Garrett Flynn, 22, of Washington Borough (Warren County), is a retail associate. Arrested June 23. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (2nd degree, over 1,000 items).

  Keith Rodenbach, 55, of Mays Landing, is unemployed. Arrested May 26. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Phong Nguyen, 44, of Pennsauken, is a nail technician. Arrested April 14. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Gordon Strater, 55, of Blackwood, is a U.S. Postal Service carrier. Arrested May 12. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Hau Tran, 47, of Pennsauken, is unemployed. Arrested May 21. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  The employment status of James Camille, 65, of Cherry Hill, is unknown. Arrested June 30. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Eugenio Dalessandro, 52, of Woolwich, is unemployed. Arrested May 11. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  The employment status of Edward Robles, 34, of Sewell, is unknown. Arrested May 3. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  Franco Grasparil, 21, of Sayreville, is a student. Arrested April 28. Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material (3rd degree).

  First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000.  Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

  The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

How To Protect Kids

  “With young people continuing to spend more time on their electronic devices due to the COVID pandemic, we must remain vigilant. We urge parents and guardians to warn children about the threats that exist on social media and popular gaming sites, and to watch for signs that a child has been subjected to online abuse,” Grewal said.

  In past cases, the ICAC Task Force has arrested child predators who used the following chat apps: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr.

  He noted arrests also have been made involving the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord. Attorney General Grewal urged parents to familiarize themselves with these and other apps and warn their children about sharing information with strangers.

  Director Lyndsay Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice said, “through major cooperative efforts like Operation 24/7, we are sending a message to sex offenders that if you threaten or exploit children, we will identify and arrest you.”

  “In addition to pursuing tips from NCMEC, we routinely conduct proactive investigations on social media platforms and peer-to-peer file-sharing networks to identify online predators and offenders distributing child sexual abuse materials. There can be no higher priority than protecting our children,” he added.

  Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said, “the individuals arrested in our county all had professions that interact with the public: a medical assistant, a train operator, and restaurant workers.”