Arrests announced in child pornography operation

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FREEHOLD – The arrests of 14 individuals for child endangerment and other charges related to the alleged distribution of child pornography was announced Friday by Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni as part of a summer-long investigation his office called “Operation School’s Out.”

According to a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office, the operation was undertaken “to reduce online threats to Monmouth County children during one of their most vulnerable times — summer vacation — and to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic materials.”

Mr. Gramiccioni credited a number of law enforcement agencies for participating in the operation, including the police departments of Belmar and Wall Township. Two individuals from those towns, Paul King, 62, of Belmar and Douglas Masto, 70 of Wall, were among those arrested.

All 14 arrests were made between July 20 and Aug. 31 by the prosecutor’s office and the Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, according to the statement. 

Also credited with assisting in Operation School’s Out were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory, New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Bureau of Investigations, New Jersey State Parole Board, as well as the police departments in the other towns where arrests were made: Asbury Park, Eatontown, Freehold Township, Hazlet Township, Holmdel Township, Howell Township, Keansburg, Keyport, Long Branch, Manalapan Township, Marlboro Township, Middletown Township, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Sea Bright and Tinton Falls.

“Our successful operation demonstrates the value of our partnerships with the local law enforcement agencies that help our ICAC Task Force continue to have a vigilant and watchful eye for this extremely damaging criminal activity,” Mr. Gramiccioni said.

For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.