Twenty-one individuals are facing charges in New Jersey for sexually exploiting children online. Attorney General Grewal announced Wednesday the arrests on 19 men, one woman, and one juvenile in “Operation Screen Capture,” a collaborative operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the coronavirus pandemic.
Eighteen of the individuals are charged with endangering the welfare of children for possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials. The other three individuals – two men and one woman – are being charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children.
There had been an increase of up to 50 percent of cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online in New Jersey since the start of the pandemic in March.
The operation came from cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), as well as other undercover chat investigations where perpetrators were attempting to meet children or other individuals online in order to sexually assault children.
One of the accused is from Mercer County: Juan Ceballos, 31, of Hamilton: Arrested June 26 for 3rd Degree of Possession of Child Pornography.
Operation Screen Capture was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, ICAC Task Force, US Homeland Security Investigations, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office. The New Jersey State Parole Board assisted with arrests and search warrants.
All arrests were made between March 18 and July 32, 2020.