VENTNOR — A 25 year-old city man who worked in the Public Works Department is accused of using Instagram to share more than 1,000 photos and videos of child pornography.
Mark McGurk Jr. was arrested Thursday at his home on Fulton Avenue after a three-month investigation into his alleged social media conduct, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in municipal court.
McGurk worked as a laborer in the Public Works Department, Mayor Beth Holtzman confirmed. He has been suspended without pay since his arrest.
“As a mayor, as a mother, the alleged charges are disturbing,” Holtzman said.
Police started an investigation after they received a tip in January from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force notifying them of suspected child abuse and exploitation images shared through one user’s Instagram account.
They found that the images uploaded Dec. 1, which police confirmed depicted “juveniles engaged in sex acts,” were allegedly connected with McGurk’s phone number.
Police executed a search warrant at McGurk’s home Thursday.
During an interview with Officer Deborah Specht and Detective Christopher Hallet from the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, McGurk provided the same email address associated with the Instagram account.
Police also recovered McGurk’s cellphone from him during the interview.
According to the affidavit Specht filed, when McGurk was asked whether he had any idea why officers wanted to speak with him, he responded, “I heard you say child porn.”
Specht stated in the report that no one had mentioned the nature of their investigation up to that point.
McGurk is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.