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Press Release

Essex County Man Arrested for Distributing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man employed as a food services worker in a high school was arrested today for distributing images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Ezra W. Saphire, 29, of West Orange, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of distribution of child pornography. He had his initial appearance by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge André M. Espinosa and was released on home confinement with electronic monitoring.

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

Saphire was employed as a food services contractor at a high school in East Hanover, New Jersey. From June 9, 2021, through Jan. 22, 2022, law enforcement conducted undercover online sessions using a publicly-available peer-to-peer (P2P) software application program, a method of communication available to Internet users through the use of special software that allows users to trade digital files through a worldwide network that is formed by linking computers together. Law enforcement officers used P2P software to download 1,014 video files and 659 image files containing images of child sexual abuse through the IP address associated with Saphire’s residence. These files included multiple visual depictions of pre-pubescent children being sexually abused by adults.

The count of distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison and a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the West Orange Police Department and the East Hanover Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hayden M. Brockett of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated March 10, 2022

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 22-086