A Wayne resident, formerly of Costa Rica, was recently sentenced to serve over 6 years in federal prison in connection with an undercover child pornography investigation. After being charged with multiple child pornography-related offenses, the defendant accepted a plea agreement which allowed him to plead guilty to a single count of child pornography distribution, while the remaining charges were dismissed.
34-year-old Wayne resident Manuel Fernandez was initially arrested in January of 2012, after agents from the Department of Homeland Security discovered illicit images and videos of child sexual abuse on his computer. Further investigation also revealed that Fernandez was employing a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to disseminate child pornography to others.
Although Fernandez was initially charged with 4 counts of child pornography distribution and 1 count of child pornography possession, his negotiated plea arrangement allowed him to plead guilty to one count of distribution, while the remaining charges were dismissed. Fernandez will now be required to serve 6 years in federal prison and may also face deportation upon completion of his sentence.
In New Jersey, the aforementioned offenses are encompassed under the statute referred to as endangering the welfare of a child, found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. According to this statute, offenses involving the distribution of child pornography constitute crimes of the second degree, which are punishable by State Prison terms ranging from 5 to 10 years.
Considering this, if Fernandez’s case was adjudicated in New Jersey criminal court, as opposed to federal Court, he could have been sentenced to serve consecutive 10-year terms of imprisonment in connection with each count of child pornography distribution for which he was charged.
Clearly, New Jersey takes these crimes extremely seriously, imposing severe punishments upon those convicted of these and other sexual offenses.
For additional information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Wayne man sentenced to prison for distributing child pornography