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Elementary School Employee Utilized Fake Online Personas to Solicit Sexual Photos and Videos From Dozens of Minors

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Morristown NJ, a Morris County, New Jersey, man who was employed by a New Jersey elementary school and helped run a youth soccer club was sentenced today to 204 months in prison for producing and possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Steven Brooks, 37, of Morristown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before former U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Brian Martinotti imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In January 2021, law enforcement officers were notified about possible child pornography on an external hard drive belonging to Brooks. Pursuant to judicially authorized search warrants, law enforcement officers searched Brooks’ external hard drive, electronic devices and social media accounts. Brooks utilized fake online personas on social media platforms to solicit photos and videos from dozens of minors that depicted the minors engaging in sexual activity. Brooks acknowledged, as relevant conduct, the attempted online enticement, production and possession of child pornography involving at least 79 victims.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Martinotti sentenced Brooks to 10 years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $237,000.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and members of the Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force of the Newark field office of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, as well as special agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Levin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit in Newark.

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