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Somerset Man Among Those Arrested in Child Pornography Operation

Chang

Huahao “Howard” Chang of Somerset was one of 14 men arrested over the past month on charges related to sharing child pornography.
Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s Office.

A 30-year-old Somerset man was among 14 arrested over the last month as part of a joint state and federal child pornography operation.

Huahao “Howard” Chang was arrested Sept. 30 as part of the operation by the state Attorney General’s Office and the federal ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

Chang was charged with 3rd-Degree possession of child pornography, 2nd Degree distribution of child pornography, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and tampering with evidence.

The latter charge was a result of Chang’s alleged attempt to break his computer’s hard drive by throwing it down a stairwell at the time of his arrest, authorities said.

Chang, as well as the 13 other men arrested in the sweep, was allegedly using Internet file-sharing software to make multiple files of child pornography available for others to download from their computers, according to a release on the arrests.

The investigation began in June, when special agents of the HSI in Cherry Hill monitored an online file-sharing network that is allegedly popular with those who trade in child pornography, according to the release. Through a number of methods, the agents identified New Jersey residents who were allegedly making child pornography files available to others on their computers.

The arrests spanned Sept. 30 to Oct. 24, according to the release. The other 13 men arrested are from Central and Southern New Jersey, according to the arrest.

Most of the defendants, including Chang, were charged under a new child pornography statute signed into law in August by Gov. Chris Christie. The new law imposes a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility of five years for distribution of 25 or more computer files of child pornography, according to the release.

Those charged with distribution or possession of could also be subject to parole supervision for life under Megan’s Law, according to the release.

“Armed with New Jersey’s tough new child pornography law, we are coming down hard on offenders who, by sharing these vile materials, support and encourage the sexual predators who rape and abuse children to create them,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said in the release.  “The claim that viewing child pornography online is a victimless crime is yet another affront to the victims whose images and cries can never be erased from the Internet.  Each time we identify a viewer who has re-victimized children by taking perverse pleasure in their agony, we will seek justice for that crime.”

“By subjecting offenders to parole supervision for life under Megan’s Law, our new child pornography law recognizes that those who get sexual gratification from these abhorrent images pose a real danger to children,” Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice said in the release. “Operation Predator Alert is aptly named because we are sounding the alarm about deviants who troll the Internet for images of children being raped and tortured.”

“Child predators rob children of their youth and innocence. One child victimized by a pedophile is one too many,” Andrew M. McLees, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Newark, said in the release. “This joint effort with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Division of Criminal Justice is a clear indication of HSI’s resolve to seek out those who sexually exploit innocent children.”

Local law enforcement agencies participating in the operation were the Frankin Township Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

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