CINNAMINSON, NJ — The Cinnaminson Police Department is partnering with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate technology-based crimes. As part of this partnership, law enforcement announced eight people have been arrested and charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.
They were arrested as part of a joint-investigation during the coronavirus pandemic that was dubbed “Operation Safe Quarantine.” None of those who were arrested are from Cinnaminson.
“The importance of these types of cybercrime investigations goes beyond just obtaining and presenting evidence in Superior Court; they stop our children from being further exploited, and prevent re-victimization by disrupting the continued dissemination of these sickening materials,” Cinnaminson Police Chief Richard Calabrese said. “It is imperative that all law enforcement agencies take an active role in helping to combat these types of crimes. That cannot be emphasized enough.”
Cinnaminson police have committed an officer to a long-term assignment with the prosecutor’s office’s High Tech Crimes Unit, which conducts investigations into crimes that involve the use of high-end technology such as computers, cellular telephones, telecommunications equipment and other advanced methods.
Calabrese joined Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and United States Homeland Security Investigations Assistant Special Agent in Charge — Newark Richard Reinhold to make the announcement on Thursday.
“I am extremely grateful to our detectives, command staff and assistant prosecutors, as well as our superb law enforcement partners, for advancing these investigations despite all of the challenges and disruption to operations that the pandemic has presented,” Coffina said. “I am also very appreciative of our long-term partnerships with HSI, the Cinnaminson Township Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies whose commitment of personnel to our High-Tech Crimes Unit enables us to dedicate the resources necessary to bring these offenders to justice.”
Coffina said the partnership took on an added urgency during the quarantine related to the coronavirus pandemic. During the quarantine, there was a dramatic increase in Internet traffic that resulted in increased opportunities for sexual exploitation of children online.
Between March 17 and July 16, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office received 52 cybertips, according to Coffina. During the same period last year, it received 29 cybertips.
Statewide, from March 1 through May 23, 2019, the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received 760 cybertips. During the period following the onset of the COVID crisis, there were 2,240, almost three times as many.
On Thursday, they announced the following arrests:
John Au, 30 of Burlington Township, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child (two are second-degree, one is third-degree). Au is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.
Ronald Bussell, 71 of Marlton, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child (two are second-degree, one is third-degree). Bussell is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.
John J. Cavanaugh, 51 of Maple Shade, was charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child (three are second-degree, one third-degree). Cavanaugh is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.
Louis Cipparone, 47 of Burlington City, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child (two are second-degree and one is third-degree). He is charged with sending and receiving child pornography on multiple social media accounts.
Donald Ebner, 63 of Lumberton, was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a Child. Ebner, a janitor at Delran Intermediate School, possessed more than 1,000 child pornography images.
Myles Doyle, 33 of Westampton, was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child (two are second-degree, one is third-degree). Doyle is charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, including images of infants and toddlers.
Andrew Marinari, 27 of Medford Lakes, was charged with two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree providing obscene material to persons under 18. Mariani is accused of possessing child pornography, showing it to people under 18 years of age, and engaging in sexually explicit conversations with numerous juveniles on social media platforms. The investigation revealed that he was communicating with numerous underage juvenile males, sending photos of his genitals and receiving the same from them.
Another case involving an online predator that predates Operation Safe Quarantine was resolved recently when Ryan Fischer, 29, of South Bound Brook, pled guilty last week to attempted endangering the welfare of a child (impairing or debauching). Fischer, who was charged in March, believed he was sending pictures of his genitals and videos of himself masturbating to a 14-year-old girl, but the actual recipient was a detective from the High-Tech Crimes Unit. He attempted to arrange a meeting at a Bordentown Township motel to have sex with the girl.
Operation Safe Quarantine remains active, and numerous additional arrests are expected in the coming weeks.
“The worldwide tragedy of COVID has impacted our lives in countless ways, upending our daily routines, including our children’s ability to attend school in person,” Reinhold said. “With children spending more time online for school and entertainment, it is unthinkable that perpetrators would try to take advantage of this difficult time to exploit our most vulnerable citizens. However, this is the reality we confront across our state, and why Operation Safe Quarantine is so important, resulting in the continued need to combine the resources of Burlington County law enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations — Cherry Hill, to pursue such criminals. This important effort also goes right in line with HSI’s national initiatives for child internet safety during COVID, including iGuardian and Operation Stolen Promise.”
Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Det. Kevin Sobotka was the lead investigator on the cases involving Au, Doyle and Ebner, while Det. Sgt. Dave Kohler led the investigations of Cipparone and Ebner, and Det. Jennifer Appelmann was the lead investigator on the cases against Bussell and Cavanaugh. Kohler and Appelmann conducted the investigation that led to the charges against Fischer.
All of these cases are pending presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment. The defendants will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy.
The Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit, HSI and the Cinnaminson Township Police Department are members of the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
This article originally appeared on the Cinnaminson Patch