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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 12, 2019

Middlesex County, NJ Deputy Sheriff Indicted on Federal Charges for Producing and Distributing Child Pornography

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Joshua Padilla, 33, of Eatontown, New Jersey was charged by Indictment with producing, distributing, and possessing child pornography. The defendant was previously charged with multiple related felonies in February 2019 by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

The defendant, a Middlesex County Sheriff’s Deputy, recorded himself having unlawful sexual contact with a 17 year-old girl and later uploaded some of that video to an online platform.  The defendant drove the minor to Northampton County, Pennsylvania to engage in this illicit sexual conduct. 

 “The allegations in this case are particularly disturbing because of the defendant’s position of authority and trust in the community as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. "We stand ready with our federal, state and local partners to identify and prosecute those who would prey upon minor children – no matter who they are.”

 “As a member of law enforcement, this defendant was sworn to protect the people he served, but instead he stands charged with abusing and exploiting a minor,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I’m proud to stand with our federal law enforcement partners in our steadfast commitment to investigating and prosecuting anyone who takes advantage of children wherever we find them—without fear or favor.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 60 years’ incarceration with a mandatory minimum term of 15 years’ imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and Homeland Security Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Josh A. Davison.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated July 12, 2019