Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on November 16, 2021, Richard Knight, 40, of New Egypt, pled guilty to Distribution of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), and Possession of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii), before the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C. At the time of his sentencing on January 14, 2022, the State will be recommending a sentence of five years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) with a two year period of parole ineligibility as to the Distribution of Child Pornography charge, as well as five years NJSP as to the Possession of Child Pornography charge. The sentences are to run concurrently. Knight will also be subject to the terms of Meghan’s Law, along with Parole Supervision for Life.
This investigation, which began in December 2020, was the result of numerous referrals from the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Task Force detected that a user of the program Google Meets was uploading images of child pornography to the internet. An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit identified a residence in New Egypt as the source of the uploaded images of child pornography. On June 9, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, United States Homeland Security Investigations, and Plumsted Township Police Department, executed a court-authorized search warrant on Knight’s residence in New Egypt. As a result, Detectives seized two cell phones from the residence. Further investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit revealed that Knight’s cell phone contained more than 1,000 images but less than 100,000 images of child pornography. The investigation also revealed that Knight distributed child pornography using Google Meets and other social media platforms.
Knight was subsequently arrested at his place of employment in Browns Mills on June 9, 2021; he has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since that date.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Shanon Chant-Berry who is handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Plumsted Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and United States Homeland Security Investigations, for their collective and collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation leading to Knight’s arrest, guilty pleas, and soon his state prison sentence.