A local man has been charged with being in possession of more than 10,000 digital images consisting of child sexual abuse material, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
Joseph Poutre, 55, of Middletown, is charged with a single count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
An investigation into Poutre’s activities was initiated when a tip was received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, after which the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force referred the case to the Prosecutor’s Office, according to Special Prosecutions Unit Supervisor and Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case. The investigation, spearheaded by Detective Craig Famoso, led to an IP address being used by Poutre, who at the time lived on the 2000 block of Princeton Avenue in Fanwood.
During the execution of a court-authorized forensic examination of Poutre’s computer, Detective Keith Johnson of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Cyber Crime Task Force used specialized software to locate and retrieve the aforementioned digital images, which had previously been deleted.
Poutre turned himself in and was formally charged last week, after which he was ordered to appear in Union County Superior Court for a first appearance scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 7.
Convictions on second-degree charges are commonly punishable by terms of 5 to 10 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The Prosecutor’s Office urges any Union County citizens who suspect incidents of possession or distribution of child sexual abuse material, or similar crimes, to report them to their local police department. Additionally, any suspected child sexual exploitation, online or otherwise, can also be reported via the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tipline (via www.cybertipline.com or 1-800-843-5678).