New Jersey man found guilty of multiple child pornography charges after throwing electronic devices into bay | USAO-NJ
TRENTON, NJ – A Middlesex County, New Jersey man has been convicted of multiple counts involving child sexual abuse images, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today. .
Charles F. Browne, 52, of South River, New Jersey, was found guilty on June 27, 2022, following a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in federal court in Trenton , for receiving child pornography, soliciting child pornography, possession of prepubescent child pornography, and concealing objects to obstruct the FBI’s investigation.
According to the documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
In September 2017, a cloud-based file service noticed that apparent child sexual abuse material had been uploaded and kept on an account with the screen name “Charles Browne” and an email address containing the term “cbrowne”. The FBI obtained the files uploaded to the online account, which included prepubescent child pornography and two copies of Browne’s resume.
On April 8, 2019, law enforcement officers stopped Browne’s vehicle as it was leaving his residence. Brown received a Miranda warning and was questioned by law enforcement officers about the FBI’s ongoing child exploitation investigation. Browne initially denied having an iPad, then, in response to the agent’s question at the end of the interview asking where his iPad was, replied that he was at home, about a mile away. Law enforcement officers told Browne that an online file account contained two images of prepubescent child sexual abuse created by an Apple iPhone Model 5C camera. Browne denied knowledge of child pornography. At the end of the interview, Browne was dropped off at his vehicle, which was locked.
At trial, Browne confessed that he broke into his vehicle after the FBI interview, removed an iPad and his iPhone, then drove to a local private beach club. Browne was observed by a neighbor as he walked to the end of the dock and threw his iPad and iPhone into the bay.
After Browne returned to his residence without his electronics, the FBI investigated the area and located the neighbor who observed Browne throwing his iPad into the bay. The FBI sent a dive team, which recovered Browne’s iPad and iPhone — an Apple 5C model — from the bay.
The devices were repaired; examination of data recovered from the devices revealed child sexual abuse videos and images. The iPad’s web history indicated that Browne had searched for child sexual abuse images on the iPad the day before Browne was questioned by law enforcement. Evidence from Browne’s iPad and iPhone shows that Browne emailed others looking for child pornography “videos”.
The counts of receiving child pornography and soliciting child pornography each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. . The count of possession of prepubescent child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The count of concealing objects to prevent a federal investigative count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for November 9, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited FBI special agents, under Special Agent in Charge Jesse Levine of the Newark Division, Deputy Director Michael Driscoll of the New York Division, and Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. , of Birmingham Division; the Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office, under Acting District Attorney Lori Linskey; the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, under Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy; the Tom’s River Police Department, under Chief of Police Mitchell A. Little; the South River Police Department, under Chief of Police Mark Tinitigan; and the Manalapan Township Police Department, under Chief Constable Edward Niesz, the investigation leading to today’s guilty verdict.
The government is represented by Assistant US Attorneys Jamie L. Hoxie and Jonathan Fayer of the Criminal Division of the US Attorney’s Office in Newark.