MORRIS COUNTY — Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two men who were arrested last year in the multi-agency child protection initiative “Operation Safety Net” pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography on the internet.
Zachary S. Brawer, 32, Lincoln Park, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree distribution of child pornography before Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Critchley Jr. in Morris County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Brawer be sentenced to five years in state prison, including 2½ years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
A special agent of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) monitoring a peer-to-peer network downloaded numerous files of child pornography from a shared folder at an IP address that was traced to Brawer. HSI-Newark, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Lincoln Park Police Department executed a search warrant at Brawer’s residence and arrested him on July 18, 2017. They seized his laptop computer, which contained over 100 files of child pornography, including more than 20 hours of video files. Brawer is scheduled to be sentenced on October 5.
“We will continue our collaborative and proactive efforts to arrest child pornography offenders, as long as children continue to be sexually abused to create these vile materials and offenders continue to re-victimize those children by distributing their images on the internet,” said Attorney General Grewal. “These crimes inflict terrible harm on the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Gregory Piszczek, 36, of Woodbridge, N.J., pleaded guilty to charges of distribution of child pornography (2nd degree) and possession of over 100 files of child pornography (3rd degree) before Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca Jr. in Middlesex County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Piszczek be sentenced to five years in state prison, including 2 ½ years of parole ineligibility. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Piszczek, who was employed as an IT professional, was arrested on August 3, 2017, by members of the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. ICAC Task Force members executed a search warrant at his residence after detectives of the Division of Criminal Justice, while monitoring a peer-to-peer file sharing network, downloaded multiple files of child pornography from a shared folder at an IP address traced to Piszczek. Computer devices seized from Piszczek contained over 4,000 videos and images of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 30.
Deputy Attorney General Marie McGovern prosecuted Piszczek and Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh prosecuted Brawer for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau.
“By seeking lengthy prison sentences – including mandatory minimum terms without parole – we send a message that we will prosecute these offenders aggressively using New Jersey’s tough child pornography laws,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Protecting innocent children from this type of sexual exploitation is a critical mission of our Division and its partners.”
“Predators like this need to know that interagency cooperation ensures that such heinous activities like this are being monitored 24 x 7,” said Brian Michael, Special Agent in Charge for HSI, Newark. “The expert investigative skills that HSI brings to the forefront helped close the loop on this individual, bringing him to much deserved justice.”
Piszczek and Brawer were among 79 child predators and child pornography offenders arrested in “Operation Safety Net,” a nine-month, multi-agency child protection operation conducted in 2017 by the New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police and includes the Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Ten alleged “hands-on” offenders were arrested, including eight New Jersey men, as well as men in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate from New Jersey for them to sexually assault.
The cases are being prosecuted for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau under the supervision of Bureau Chief Julia S. Glass. Attorney General Grewal commended the detectives, agents and officers who investigated for the Division of Criminal Justice, HSI-Newark, the U.S Postal Inspection Service, Lincoln Park Police Department and New Jersey ICAC Task Force.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.