TRENTON –Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Burlington County man was sentenced to state prison today for using a file-sharing network to share images and videos of child pornography over the internet from his laptop computer.
Ahren Ricker, 33, of Southampton, N.J., was sentenced to five years in prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Philip E. Haines in Burlington County. Ricker pleaded guilty on Jan. 7, 2019 to second-degree distribution of child pornography (storing or maintaining child pornography using a file-sharing program). He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. In pleading guilty, Ricker admitted that he knowingly used internet file-sharing software to make files containing child pornography readily available for any other user to download from a designated “shared folder” on his computer.
Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh prosecuted Ricker and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Ricker was charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU).
“Those like Ricker who view and distribute child pornography not only re-victimize the children involved, they drive the further abuse of children by creating a market for these abhorrent materials,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are protecting children by making these investigations and prosecutions a top priority.”
“Working with the State Police and other members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, we are building strong cases against those who use the internet to sexually exploit children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue our collaborative efforts to arrest these offenders and send them to prison.”
“Instead of sharing sickening files of child pornography with those like him, Ricker should share the news of the five years in prison he’s about serve in addition to the lifelong requirement of parole supervision that was part of his sentence,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police and our law enforcement partners will continue to work collaboratively to not only arrest these offenders, but to successfully prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Ricker was arrested on Aug. 22, 2018 by the New Jersey State Police. The investigation began when a detective with the State Police DTIU initiated an investigation into peer-to-peer file sharing on a file-sharing network popular with offenders who trade child pornography. The detective identified a computer address that was offering multiple files of child pornography for any user to download using file-sharing software, and the detective successfully downloaded multiple files of child pornography, including a video of an adult male sexually assaulting a prepubescent girl.
The computer address was traced to Ricker’s residence in Southampton. At the time of his arrest, DTIU detectives, assisted by the State Police TEAMS South Unit and other ICAC Task Force members, executed a search warrant at Ricker’s residence and seized a laptop computer, tablet computer, and cell phone. The devices were taken to the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Hamilton for full forensic exams. More than 4,000 files of child pornography were found on the laptop.
Deputy Attorney General Huynh prosecuted the case for 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 those attorneys, as well as the detectives who led the investigation for the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and the other members of the State Police and ICAC Task Force who assisted in the investigation.
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 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.
Robert M. Perry, Esq., Daniel M. Rosenberg & Associates LLC, Mt. Holly, N.J.
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