TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a California man pleaded guilty today to traveling to New Jersey in an attempt to sexually assault an underage girl. The defendant had communicated online with a man he believed was offering him an opportunity to sexually assault a girl, age 11. In reality, that man was an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police.
Ian Brewer, 25, of Pomona, Calif., pleaded guilty today to an accusation charging him with second-degree aggravated sexual assault before Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue in Union County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Brewer be sentenced to seven years in state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life. Sentencing for Brewer is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2020 before Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.
Deputy Attorney General Jamie Picard represented the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau in the plea proceedings. Brewer was arrested in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, assisted by the Bayonne Police Department.
Brewer began exchanging emails in December 2019 with the undercover detective. The undercover detective said that for a fee, Brewer could sexually assault the 11-year-old daughter of his girlfriend. The detective represented that he and his girlfriend were part of a group that met regularly to sexually assault the child. Brewer agreed to pay a fee of $500 for the weekend to have the girl perform oral sex on him. He was arrested on Jan. 17, 2020 after flying to New Jersey and checking into a hotel room. He was arrested at a restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J., where he went to meet the man and his girlfriend. Brewer had $701 cash in his possession, and numerous condoms were found in his hotel room.
“It’s alarming to see the great lengths to which predators like Brewer will go to seek children to sexually exploit,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We want parents and guardians to know that online threats to children from such predators have increased as much as 50 percent in New Jersey during the COVID pandemic, as gauged by tips to law enforcement, and those threats are likely to increase this fall as children return to virtual learning, with less or no in-person teacher supervision of their online activity. This guilty plea reflects our commitment to protect children and bring offenders like Brewer to justice.”
“Just yesterday we announced arrests of 21 sex offenders as a result of a collaborative operation led by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force,” Attorney General Grewal added. “We will continue to work tirelessly to identify and arrest child predators, those who sexually abuse children, and those who possess, distribute and manufacture child sexual abuse materials.”
More details of the 21 arrests in “Operation Screen Capture” are available on our website here.
“By working with the ICAC Task Force and partnering with law enforcement at all levels, including U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, we ensure that we have the resources and reach to pursue these multi-jurisdictional cases and capture those who seek to sexually abuse and exploit children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We want these offenders to know that when they seek out like-minded individuals online, they may instead discover our detectives, with their single-minded goal of protecting children.”
“Gone are the days when child predators were limited to lurking in neighborhoods or playgrounds. Brewer is an example of how today’s predators are not only using more sophisticated technologies, but are networking with other abusers in order to find their next victim,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police and our partners will continue to evolve our investigative strategies and work together to ensure that child predators and those who assist them are identified, apprehended, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Once again, we confront the tenacious evil of a child predator, in this case one who traveled from California to New Jersey to seek out his innocent prey,” said Jason J. Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “However, when he arrived at the designated meeting place, he found law enforcement officers there instead who arrested him. This should be a strong lesson to child predators online, that what you think are well crafted schemes to lure in the most vulnerable among us are being undone by the combined forces of law enforcement agencies nationwide. If you’re out there, we will find you and bring you to justice, no matter what it takes.”
Deputy Attorney General Picard prosecuted the case for the Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter and Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel.
Attorney General Grewal thanked all of those who investigated and prosecuted the case for the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Bayonne Police Department, and the Division of Criminal Justice.
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children. They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials 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 please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Defense Attorney: Howard W. Bailey, Esq., of Newark, N.J.