Prosecutor: 15 Arrests Made on Child Sexual Abuse Materials Possession Charges

Separate investigations have resulted in the arrest of 15 Monmouth County people for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

The arrests were made between July 21 and Oct. 15 by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

The arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornography materials.

The following arrests were made and charges lodged:

Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with three males under the age of 16.

Mejia was charged with: one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (distribution of child sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of attempted endangering the welfare of a child (manufacturing an image of child exploitation material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of attempted obscenity to minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, the defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. and was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.

Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with: one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.

Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on Sept. 10 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed more than 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.

Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (distribution of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.

Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.

Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on Sept. 9 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.

Joseph Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on Aug. 21 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third- degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.

Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on Aug. 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.

Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on Sept. 1 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.

Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on Sept. 2 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child (distribution of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.

George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on Sept. 25 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared more than 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child (distribution of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on Sept. 11 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).

Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on Oct. 13 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on Oct. 15 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child (possession of child sexual abuse material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (distribution of child sexual abuse material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

The charges and penalties if convicted …

If convicted of the first-degree endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey state prison, Megan’s Law, and parole supervision for life. If convicted of the second-degree endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, Megan’s Law and parole supervision for life. If convicted of the third-degree endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years prison and parole supervision for life. A conviction for disorderly persons possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.

Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.

Assisting in the operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, and the Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes police from Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel police departments, and support from Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough police departments.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management