Union County, New Jersey, Man Charged With Distribution Of Child Pornography
NEWARK, N.J. – A Union County, New Jersey, man was arrested today and appeared in federal court on charges of distribution of images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Christopher Gardiner, 35, of Cranford, New Jersey, with one count of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. He made his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and was detained.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between March 2018 and June 2018, Gardiner allegedly engaged an undercover agent in an ongoing sexually graphic conversation on a web-based social media application. In a chatroom, Gardiner publicly posted multiple videos depicting the sexual abuse of children and sent similar videos to the undercover agent directly. The complaint also alleges that law enforcement discovered numerous videos of child pornography on Gardiner’s electronic devices when he was arrested at his home.
The charge of distribution of child pornography, for a repeat offender (Gardiner was previously convicted of endangering the welfare of a child and distribution of child pornography in Union County in 2007), carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The charge of possession of child pornography for a repeat offender carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Protection Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Peter Carter Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender (Newark)