TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a man who was arrested in the multi-agency child protection initiative “Operation Safety Net” was sentenced to state prison today for distributing child pornography on the internet.
Laurence Duque, 43, of Dayton (South Brunswick), N.J., was sentenced today to six years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. in Middlesex County. Duque pleaded guilty on Oct. 26 to second-degree distribution of child pornography. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
While monitoring a peer-to-peer network as part of “Operation Safety Net,” a detective of the Division of Criminal Justice downloaded numerous files of child pornography from a shared folder at an IP address that was subsequently traced to Duque. Members of the Division of Criminal Justice, South Brunswick Police Department, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the New Jersey State Police executed a search warrant at Duque’s residence on Aug. 22, 2017. Duque was arrested after investigators found numerous files of suspected child pornography on his computer equipment. A full forensic examination revealed over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography on the computer devices seized from his residence. Duque became a fugitive in September 2017. He was apprehended in Penobscot, Maine in June 2018 by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.
Deputy Attorney General Layli Khelafa prosecuted Duque and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
“Online collectors and distributers of child pornography like Duque generate demand for these abhorrent materials and thereby contribute directly to the cruel sexual abuse of children,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will continue to work tirelessly to protect children by investigating and prosecuting these offenders.”
“We will continue to work with the ICAC Task Force and all of our law enforcement partners to patrol the internet and apprehend these criminals who participate in the sexual exploitation of children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Our child protection efforts are greatly enhanced by the collaborative relationships we have established across all levels of law enforcement.”
Duque was among 79 child predators and child pornography offenders arrested in “Operation Safety Net,” a nine-month, multi-agency child protection operation conducted in 2017 by the New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police and includes the Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Ten alleged child predators were arrested, including eight New Jersey men, as well as men in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate from New Jersey for them to sexually assault.
The cases are being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Julia S. Glass and Deputy Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter. Attorney General Grewal commended all of the members of law enforcement who investigated for the Division of Criminal Justice, HSI-Newark, and the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police. He also thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, South Brunswick Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Assistant Deputy Public Defender Andrew D. Manns Jr., Middlesex County, N.J.