Former Rutgers Student Indicted For Allegedly Distributing Child Pornography Online

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Hongyu Wang (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General's Office)

Hongyu Wang (Photo courtesy of the NJ Attorney General’s Office)

TRENTON –  A former Rutgers University undergraduate was indicted today by a state grand jury on charges that he distributed child pornography over the Internet while a student at the university in New Brunswick, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced.

Hongyu Wang, 21, of Piscataway, was charged in a five-count indictment with one count of distributing child pornography (2nd degree), one count of offering child pornography (2nd degree), one count of possession of child pornography (4th degree), one count of attempted tampering with evidence (4th degree), and one count of attempted hindering apprehension (3rd degree).

The New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigation Unit (DTIU) and the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) were investigating individuals who were using peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing software to share child pornography on the Internet in December 2011 when they downloaded child pornography via P2P file sharing from a computer that was traced to Rutgers University. Further investigation revealed that the computer allegedly belonged to Wang.

When a detective approached Wang at the university on Jan. 26, 2012, he agreed to speak to the detective and ride with him to the apartment he shared with his parents, where the computer was located at the time. However, once at the apartment, Wang allegedly shoved his mother in front of the detective and ran toward his bedroom. The detective stopped Wang before he reached the computer, and it was later discovered that Wang had powerful magnets in his shoes that he allegedly intended to use to destroy all of the data on the hard drive of his computer. The detective obtained a search warrant and discovered a large number of child pornography files on the computer. A forensic examination of the computer revealed that Wang was allegedly sharing 230 child pornography videos at the time of his arrest. Rutgers expelled Wang after his arrest.

Deputy Attorney General Kenneth R. Sharpe presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Analysis & Technology Unit. The State Police and New Jersey ICAC were assisted in the investigation by the Rutgers University Police Department.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, and a $150,000 fine. Third-degree charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson in Mercer County. The case is assigned to Middlesex County, where Wang will be ordered to appear in court at a later date to be arraigned on the charges.

The ICAC Task Force in New Jersey works with out-of-state partners to share information on distributors and users of child pornography. A major partner is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C. They maintain a national, toll-free tip line for the public to report crimes against children: 1-800-THE-LOST, or 1-800-843-5678. The tip line brings hundreds of leads to the New Jersey ICAC Task Force on sexual crimes against children.

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