Tag Archives: child pornography

Corona man sentenced in online child pornography bust

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Corona resident who was arrested days before traveling to see a 13-year-old girl in Oklahoma was sentenced to five to 15 years in prison for trying to convince young girls to engage in sexual performances via an online “game,” prosecutors said.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, 24-year-old Jorel Fowler, who is also known as Jorel Fower, was sentenced Wednesday on two counts of use of child in a sexual performance — which he plead guilty to in July.

The investigation into Fowler’s actions began in March 2013 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a CyberTip from the mother of a then-13-year-old, who Fowler was communicating with online and through text messages, Brown said.

The mother reported both via the CyberTip and to local police that Fowler was communicating with her daughter for over two years and had sent naked pictures, requesting that the girl send him naked pictures of herself, and was trying to convince her to meet him at a hotel to have sex, according to authorities.

In February 2014, police went to Fowler’s Corona home and with his permission removed his Asus laptop computer and an iPhone 5, prosecutors said. Fowler was arrested the following month after the discovery of seven videos on his laptop’s hard drive titled “Sarah,” “Tiffany & Britney,” “Katelyn,” “Julia,” “Gabrielle,” “Ashley” and “Alex.”

According to prosecutors, the videos were recorded by Fowler during video chat sessions on the social media website Omegle and included text and video conversations between him and various teenagers younger than 16 years old playing “The Game” — an online program Fowler created.

During “The Game,” Fowler would award the girls with points for performing various activities, including sexual acts upon his request, authorities said. Forensic examination revealed that Fowler had downloaded and saved 32 images of naked young girls with their genitals exposed to the camera.

“The facts of this case are deplorable. The defendant took advantage of young girls, manipulating them into playing a vile game and recording it for his sexual gratification,” Brown said. “This is the reason why we repeatedly urge parents to communicate with their children about their use of the Internet and to monitor their children’s online activities — always. There are sexual predators lurking online just waiting for an opportunity.”

Brown added that Fowler had made arrangements to go to Altus, Oklahoma between March 16 through 23, 2014, to meet with the Oklahoma teen. Unbeknownst to both the girl’s mother and law enforcement, the young girl continued to have contact with Fowler even after her mother first reported finding his photo.

During Wednesday’s sentencing, a statement from the victim’s mother was read that said while Fowler “may not have physically touched my daughter…you have taken her innocence away. You are deserving of the punishment to the fullest.”

Fowler will now serve 5 to 15 years for each indictment, but sentences will run concurrently. Upon his release, he will also have to register as a sex offender.


Queens basketball coach charged after lewd video chats with teen

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A Queens basketball coach has been charged with child pornography possession after a 15-year-old he coached claimed they had lewd video chats, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Robert Walker, 42, who coaches three Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams and regularly conducts basketball workouts with teenage boys, communicated with the boy in April through ooVoo, a video chat and instant messaging application, according to Brown. He allegedly convinced the teen to not only pose naked via video, but also to send naked pictures of himself.

A search of Walker’s Jamaica home found a video on his computer of the 15-year-old victim posing naked, prosecutors said.

The chats came to light after the victim told his parent, who then contacted police.

Following his arrest, Walker allegedly admitted to engaging in inappropriate activity with other boys under the age of 16 during his basketball workouts. He said he would have them remove their clothing, then would take pictures and videos, including some of the boys masturbating, according to Brown.

As of Tuesday night, Walker was awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of use of a child in a sexual performance, disseminating indecent material to minors, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Any other individuals who believe they may have also been victimized by Walker should call the 105th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-776-9252.


23 Queens individuals arrested in NYC-area child porn bust

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of ICE

Twenty-three Queens residents, including an NYPD cop, registered nurse and paramedic, were arrested as part of a large-scale operation targeting the online distribution of child pornography.

The largest-ever enforcement operation in New York directed at predators who possess, produce or distribute sexually explicit images of children, resulted in the arrests of 71 individuals in the five boroughs, other areas of the state and New Jersey, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other officials announced Wednesday.

During Operation Caireen, which began April 4 and ran until May 15, HSI special agents, NYPD detectives and other law enforcement partners infiltrated peer-to-peer file sharing networks to identify users in the New York City metropolitan area who tried to acquire or distribute known or suspected images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit activities, according to HSI.

Among the Queens residents arrested was an NYPD officer from Ozone Park, Yong Wu, who has been charged with possession of child pornography, officials said. He was arrested on April 28 following the execution of a search warrant on his home.

An Astoria registered nurse, Kenneth Gardner, who works at Westchester County Medical Center, has been charged with promoting a sex performance of a child under age 17, possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by a child, according to HSI.

Aaron Young, a paramedic, was arrested at his Queens home on April 28 and charged with possession of child pornography, officials said.

“It must be remembered that the images involved in these cases are of real children being sexually abused and that each time an image is viewed, traded, printed or downloaded, the child in that image is being victimized again,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Others facing charges include an au pair, and a man who served as both a den master with the Boy Scouts of America and a little league baseball coach.



Queens cop arrested on child pornography charges

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated Wednesday, April 30, 9:55 a.m.

A Queens cop was slapped with child pornography charges after videos of underage girls engaging in sexual acts were allegedly found on his computer.

Yong Wu, 38, was busted through an investigation of people who were sharing files of child pornography over peer-to-peer networks, court records said.

An IP address being used by Wu allegedly downloaded two video files that each showed a girl about 11 to 13 years in age engaging in lewd acts. In one, the girl was having sex with an adult male, according to a criminal complaint. He was allegedly found to sharing at least 60 files of interest to investigators.

A warrant was executed Monday morning at the Wu”s south Queens home, where a desktop computer was recovered on which five videos of young girls were allegedly found.

The videos included the girls, between the ages of 8 and 12,  engaging in various  sex acts with adult men, court documents said.

Wu, who works as an NYPD officer in Brooklyn, was arraigned Monday on seven counts each of promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by child, according to officials.




East Elmhurst man busted after child porn found on computer during Best Buy repair

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


One East Elmhurst man has been slapped with charges of possessing child pornography after bringing his laptop to Best Buy for repair.

On April 1, a technician at the electronics store located in Long Island City began working on a laptop that was dropped off by 61-year-old Michael Murray on March 26 to get repaired, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

After turning on and rebooting the computer the technician found the screen saver to contain a slide show of multiple young girls posing provocatively or engaging in sexual acts with adult men, Brown said. Once the worker altered his supervisor about the images, 15 photographs of young girls were found and the police was called.

“This defendant is alleged to have had some very disturbing photographs of children being sexually abused on his computer,” Brown said. “These photographs depict real children who will no doubt be emotionally and physically scarred for the rest of their lives.”

The district attorney added that detectives went to Murray’s East Elmhurst home Wednesday morning, where he allegedly admitted to knowing what was on his screen saver. Murray also allegedly admitted he had been sharing child pornography files with other people on the Internet for about five years.

Murray has been charged with 15 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. If convicted, Murray could face up to four years in prison.



Kids made cards for inmate

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

The Department of Education (DOE) is determined to dismiss a teacher who had her fifth grade students send Christmas cards to a felon caught possessing child pornography.

According to a report issued by Richard Condon, the city’s special commissioner of investigation, Melissa Dean, a 31-year-old educator at P.S. 143 in Corona, had her students send handmade holiday cards to John Coccarelli, her friend and alleged boyfriend.

Coccarelli, who is currently serving a one-to-three-year sentence for carrying a loaded firearm and violating an Order of Protection, was charged in 2008 with one count of “possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child” – a floppy disk with roughly 30 sexually explicit photos of underage children – according to the Nassau district attorney’s office. In addition, approximately 20 sexually explicit images of underage children were found on Coccarelli’s laptop. He was ultimately not convicted in relation to the charge.

Dean did not ask permission from students’ parents or the school, and officials claim the teacher encouraged the children to write personal information on the cards, including their names and addresses. The teacher also printed the name of each student on the back of their card.

“You are sending the names and addresses of children to a penitentiary to go to a prisoner, but that doesn’t mean they won’t end up going to other people,” said Condon. “It unnecessarily endangers these children.”

The report also claims the teacher included cards from her and her daughter with the bunch, signing hers “Wifey.”

Despite Dean’s efforts to reach her “hubby,” the cards were intercepted by a correctional officer in charge of security at Groveland, who then called P.S. 134’s principal.

When questioned by the principal, Dean admitted to being friends with Coccarelli and believed her gesture was “a nice thing to do.”

Based on documentation from Groveland, Dean has called Coccarelli 327 times and visited him on 11 different occasions during his sentence thus far – with their latest meeting occurring November 19.

The Courier was unable to reach Dean for comment.

According to a spokesperson for the DOE, Dean has been reassigned out of classroom, and the department is seeking her termination.

A spokesperson for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) declined to comment, citing that the investigation was ongoing.

Upon conducting interviews with Dean’s students, officials learned the teacher told the fifth graders their cards would be sent to patients in hospitals, lonely people without families or the homeless.

“We recommend that she be terminated,” Condon said. “We found that she did not get any of the parents’ permission to send these cards, she misled the children about who these cards were going to and put the children’s names on the cards. She did not have the right to do that.”

The incident has outraged many parents across the borough, who are now calling for Dean’s discharge. “The teacher should be fired immediately,” said Jose Membreno, whose granddaughter attends an elementary school in Corona. “When it comes to a child, it’s inappropriate. A child will listen to an adult, and the teacher knows why he was behind bars. This shows me that the teacher herself might have a problem.”

Additional reporting by David Beltran