TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Mercer County man who used a file-sharing network to distribute videos and images of child pornography was sentenced to state prison today. He was arrested in “Operation Safeguard,” a child pornography sweep conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice, ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the New Jersey State Police.
Robert A. Kunert, 25, of Hamilton, N.J., was sentenced today to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Darlene J. Pereksta in Mercer County. Kunert pleaded guilty on July 27 to a second-degree charge of distribution of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. In pleading guilty, Kunert admitted that he knowingly used file-sharing software to make multiple files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer. Investigators found more than 250 suspected files of child pornography in a shared folder on his laptop computer.
Deputy Attorney General Joseph Remy prosecuted Kunert and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
“Offenders like Kunert who share child pornography online contribute to the terrible sexual abuse and exploitation of young children by distributing and creating demand for these vile materials,” said Attorney General Grewal. “To protect children, we need to send a message that these are never victimless crimes – they are serious crimes that will result in substantial prison sentences.”
“We will continue our aggressive efforts to prosecute those who share child pornography online,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Offenders like Kunert might believe they are hidden from sight when they commit their crimes, but we have the technology and the determination to find them and bring them to justice.”
“When a child pornographer like Kunert shares an online folder containing more than 250 files of sexual abuse and torture of children, he is not only promoting this abhorrent behavior, he is encouraging others to do more than just share a file, but to create one,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “Thanks to the outstanding work of the State Police Digital Technology and Investigations Unit and our partners, Robert Kunert will have nothing to share for the next few years other than a prison cell.”
“This is another case where interagency cooperation has taken a serious sexual predator offline, in this case one distributing the most repulsive kinds of images imaginable,” said Brian Michael, Special Agent in Charge for HSI, Newark. “The message should be clear to all who traffic in such disturbing images of innocent children: the combined efforts of state, local and federal law enforcement will find them wherever they lurk.”
During Operation Safeguard, special agents of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, and detectives of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit monitored several online file-sharing networks that are popular with offenders who download and trade child pornography. Using advanced technology, the investigators searched for telltale digital “fingerprints” of known child pornography, as well as search terms used by those who download and share child pornography. Through these and other methods, they identified New Jersey residents who were downloading child pornography and making child pornography available to others in “shared folders” on their computers.
Kunert was arrested on March 31, 2016, when agents and detectives conducting Operation Safeguard executed a search warrant at his home. Investigators previously had downloaded videos of child pornography from a shared folder at an IP address traced to Kunert. During the search, law enforcement seized a laptop belonging to Kunert. A preview of the computer revealed over 250 files of suspected child pornography in a shared folder. The Hamilton Police Department assisted in the operation.
Attorney General Grewal commended all of the attorneys, detectives and special agents who conducted the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, Homeland Security Investigations, and the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone who has information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet or who suspects improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Raymond C. Staub, Esq., Destribats Campbell Staub, LLC, Hamilton, N.J.
Follow the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office online at Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flicker & YouTube. The social media links provided are for reference only. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.