Eight people, including a former substitute teacher from Tuckerton, have been indicted in a Louisiana federal court in crimes involving sexual exploitation of children.
Between Dec. 15, 2012, and this Oct. 5, Stanley Zdon III, 27, knowingly received computer files and images that “involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” according to Thursday’s federal indictment.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office went to Zdon’s residence, on East Main Street, on the morning of Nov. 5 and found “in excess of 100” files on his computer, spokesman Al Della Fave said.
Della Fave said that while the Prosecutor’s Office assisted by executing the search warrant, it is Louisiana’s case, and any information will have to come from federal officials there.
He did point out, however, that because of recent changes to child pornography laws in New Jersey, stricter penalties have been put in place since August.
Possession is a third-degree offense if more than 100 files are found on a computer, Della Fave said. “So it creates the assumption of prison based on possession ... He definitely qualifies.”
It was unclear Friday if Zdon could face any state charges.
Anna Christman, at the Department of Justice Eastern District of Louisiana, said she could not confirm or deny if there is a continuing investigation or provide any other details about the case.
The indictment indicates, however, the case could include production of child pornography.
Zdon was a substitute teacher in the Pinelands Regional School District, according to his LinkedIn profile.
District Superintendent Robert Blake said Zdon hasn’t been with the district since the 2009-10 school year.
For the duration of his employment, which was before Blake was in the district, Zdon had been a substitute for grades 7 to 10, Blake said in a telephone interview Friday.
“Nobody was aware of any issues that had been brought up at that time,” Blake said.
Zdon was charged with receiving child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, and if convicted would be placed on a supervised release after imprisonment for a minimum of five years.
If convicted, Zdon and the seven others will have to register as sex offenders, according to OCPO. The other defendants include two men from Georgia, and one from Ohio, California, Minnesota and Indiana.
“It just shows how prolific this type of thing is and it extends out side the borders of New Jersey,” Della Fave said, adding it was disturbing to see the extent of “creation and sharing of graphic child pornographic materials.”
A statement from the Prosecutor’s Office said the case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to fight the growing “epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.”
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