Saturday, August 15, 2009

Matthew Wood Indicted for Distribution of Child Porn

A Carneys Point man has been indicted by a Salem County grand jury here for alleged possession and distribution of child pornography after being nabbed by state police under Operation Fairplay.

Matthew E. Wood, 21, of Hawks Bridge Road in the township, was arrested on June 9 at his home for allegedly using a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that allowed users to download illicit images and movies from him, prosecutors said.

He was found to have "at least one" prohibited file on the hard drive of his personal laptop computer, said Salem County First Assistant Prosecutor William Brennan.

Wood now faces one count of second degree child pornography distribution and a lesser charge for fourth-degree child pornography possession, according to an indictment handed down Wednesday by a Salem County grand jury.

If convicted he could face a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

Court officials said Wood was released on his own recognizance following his arrest and never lodged in the Salem County Correctional Facility.

Operation Fairplay, a software tool that allows investigators to track at least a small portion of child pornography transactions occurring on the Internet, was credited with deciphering Wood's involvement, Brennan said.

Employed by investigators around the United States, Operation Fairplay allows police to download illegal material and then track the sender's Internet Protocol address.

Authorities spent a considerable amount of time identifying the subject and putting him under surveillance before obtaining a search warrant, according to Brennan.

Using the IP address, police are able to gather information from the Internet service provider, including the subscriber's name and location.

"State police are doing an operation where they learned that there is a program out there that is making child pornography available," Brennan said. "We are talking about second-degree distribution."

More than half a million unique users trafficking child pornography have been identified through the software, according to officials.

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