Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Lumberton Township man has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.
John P. DeMerchant, 32, of the first block of Harrowgate Drive, was charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Second Degree), including utilizing a file-sharing network to possess child pornography.
DeMerchant was released following an appearance in Superior Court, but was forbidden from having unsupervised contact with minors, using social media, and using the Internet except for work purposes. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a Grand Jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began earlier this year after the Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit was notified of DeMerchant’s online activities by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
He was arrested at his home January 11 following the execution of a search warrantm during which multiple computers, cell phones, hard drives and other digital media were seized. A preliminary review of the devices by High-Tech Crimes Unit detectives revealed more than 1,000 images of child pornography.
The investigation, which also included the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and Lumberton Township Police Department, revealed that DeMerchant would use the digital file-sharing program to download pornography for personal use, and would then make it available for others to access from his devices.
The lead investigator is BCPO Detective Jennifer Applemann. The Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit is a member of the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the New Jersey State Police Cyber Terrorism Task Force.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.