HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- A teacher, a school bus driver and a high school student were among 16 people facing child pornography charges in New Jersey, authorities announced Wednesday.
They were arrested between February and March in a state and federal probe that targeted suspects using online file-sharing networks to distribute kiddie porn, including child rape videos.
Authorities charged Thomas Guzzi Jr., 36, of Pitman, who is a teacher and drama club adviser at the Winslow Elementary School in Vineland, was accused of possessing 100 or more files. He has been suspended from his job. The Associated Press was unable to obtain a telephone number to determine if he has hired a lawyer who can comment on the accusation.
Eugene Triston, 55, of Stanhope, who drives a school bus in Sparta, was charged with distributing 25 or more files. A telephone call to his home seeking comment was unanswered.
A 17-year-old from Kearny is charged with selling, distributing and possessing child pornography.
Dubbed "Operation Safeguard," investigators said they searched for digital "fingerprints" of known child pornography, and searched terms used by those who download and share child pornography to find New Jersey residents who were downloading child pornography and making it available through shared computer folders.
All 16 defendants were charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, and third-degree possession of child pornography, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison.