TRENTON, N.J. — A Mercer County man was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison Tuesday for producing images of child sex abuse by coercing a minor victim to stream explicit sexual conduct to him via the Internet through a webcam. The sentencing follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cherry Hill, which falls under the HSI Newark field office.
Fredy Arbito, 31, of Hightstown, N.J., previously pleaded guilty to the charge in U.S. District Court. As part of his guilty plea, Arbito admitted that from July 2011 to January 2013 he made contact with a young girl over a video chat messaging system and coerced her to engage in sexually explicit conduct via webcam. Arbito admitted to keeping copies of the video on his computer.
"Once an image is shared online, it's virtually impossible to remove," said HSI Newark Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees. "Investigating and seeking prosecution of criminals who sexually exploit children online will continue to be one of HSI's highest priorities."
Arbito was initially charged with possession of child pornography, apprehended by local authorities in Panama, and returned to the United States where he was arrested by HSI special agents in April 2013. In addition to the federal prison term, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp ordered Arbito to serve a lifetime of supervised release following the completion of his prison term and to register as a sex offender.
Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Joseph Gribko prosecuted the case on behalf of U.S. Attorney Paul J Fishman's Criminal Division in Newark.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.