the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Edgewater Park NJ, the Office of the Attorney General today announced a state grand jury has voted to file criminal charges against a college student who allegedly deceived children he contacted online into providing him sexually explicit videos of themselves, then used the internet connection of his Essex County-based university to upload the videos online.
A grand jury in Trenton has returned a 12-count indictment against Keyon Luff, 21, of Edgewater Park in Burlington County, N.J. Luff was indicted on charges including manufacturing child sexual exploitation and abuse material. The defendant is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark pending trial.
According to the investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Cybercrimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce, between January and July 2021, Luff used a popular social media platform to contact at least three children between the ages of 14 and 16 online, directed them to engage in sexual acts, told the victims to record themselves on video, and instructed them to send the lewd videos to him.
Luff allegedly created fictitious social media accounts to contact underage children and engage in sexually explicit conversations. According to the investigation, the defendant impersonated an adult female on one platform and utilized that false identity to obtain sexual files of others, including minors.
Detectives seized numerous digital devices from Luff’s dorm room during the execution of a search warrant on May 3, 2023. Investigators determined the defendant was allegedly in possession of illicit, unlawful images of child sex abuse.
“As alleged in the indictment, the defendant assumed a fraudulent identity, posing as a woman with the specific intent of deceiving and manipulating children. The grand jury determined this individual utilized this charade to induce victims to produce footage that would later be shared online without their knowledge or consent,” said First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo. “Such material should not exist, let alone circulate. And the manner in which it was allegedly obtained from the victims is not only abhorrent — it illustrates the alleged predatory premeditation that went into these crimes.”
“This case illustrates that the Division of Criminal Justice will stop at nothing to investigate and prosecute those who exploit children over social media platforms,” said J. Stephen Ferketic, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge parents to be vigilant, and to be aware of who their children are communicating with on social media platforms.”
The criminal investigation leading to Luff’s arrest was launched following a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), a private nonprofit that assists with the location of missing children, reduction of child sexual exploitation, and prevention of child victimization.
In this investigation, NCMEC reported that a cloud-based file hosting service reported that several files depicting suspected child sex abuse were uploaded to its platform. Investigators determined that the Internet Protocol (IP) address used to upload the files was associated with the university Luff was attending, and further investigation identified him as a suspect.
Luff has been indicted on the following charges:
Manufacturing Child Sexual Exploitation/Abuse Material – three counts, 1st Degree
Sexual Assault — 2nd Degree
Photographing or Filming a Child in a Prohibited Sexual Act or in the Simulation of Such an Act – three counts, 2nd Degree
Impairing or Debauching the Morals of a Child – three counts, 3rd Degree
Possession of Child Sexual Exploitation/Abuse Material (less than 1,000 items) – 3rd Degree
Impersonation — 4th Degree
First-degree charges are punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and fines 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
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Fourth-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The investigation was led by the DCJ Cybercrimes Unit under the supervision of Lt. Richard DaSilva. Deputy Attorney General Robert Guarni is prosecuting the case for the DCJ Cybercrimes Unit, under the Supervision of Deputy Unit Chief Lisa Rastelli, Unit Chief Jillian Carpenter, and Interim DCJ Director Derek Nececkas.
These charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Dorion B. Morgan, Esq., Mount Holly
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