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TRENTON — An Ocean County man admitted Monday his role in distributing images and videos of child sexual abuse, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Michael A. Ruggiero, 37, of the Forked River section of Lacey Township, who is a former corrections officer, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in federal court to an information charging him with distribution of child pornography, Carpenito said.

According to Carpenito, documents filed in this case and statements made in court said:

• From April 16 to April 19, 2016, Ruggiero used a mobile chat application to distribute and share over the internet images and videos of child sexual abuse.

• Some of the images and videos were of prepubescent children or children under the age of 12.

Ruggiero also admitted he received over the same mobile chat application other images and videos of child sexual abuse and that he possessed additional depictions of child sexual abuse on his cellular telephone at the time of his arrest in June 2017, Carpenito said.

The charge of distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, Carpenito said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 3, Carpenito said.

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