Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what’s going 
on in the courts.

By Logan Beck

A New Jersey woman pleaded guilty on Aug. 9 to conspiring with her former boyfriend to produce sexually explicit images of two children, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Janine Kelley, 35, of Audubon, N.J., a registered nurse, became sexually involved with her co-conspirator, Alexander Capasso, 42, of Collingswood, New Jersey, back in 2011. During this time, Capasso revealed to Kelley that he fantasized about engaging in sexual acts with children.

Kelley readily complied.

Over the period of a year, Kelley allowed Capasso to take photos of her engaged in sexual activities with two children. Capasso also allowed Kelley to take photos of him sexually engaged with two children as well.

Capasso was indicted on July 6, 2016 for possession and distribution of images of child sex abuse, as well as conspiring to sexually exploit two minors.

Kelley has pleaded guilty, and will be sentenced on Nov. 18, 2016. Her charges carry a minimum of 15 years in prison, a maximum 30 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Technology and social media can often have a dark side.

A 16-year-old girl was forced to strip naked on a webcam after being blackmailed by a New Jersey man.

Michael Van Culin, 32, of Monroeville, N.J., began communicating with the 16-year-old girl through online chats, in which he asked her personal information about her family. From there, he used a password decoding software in order to determine her passwords based on the information she provided him, including pet names, favorite sports, family birthdays, and more.

He successfully hacked into her email account.

Once he did, he threatened to reveal personal information about the girl to her family--that is if she refused to strip down in front of him.

When Van Culin’s computer was seized, investigators found a video of the teenage girl undressing, visibly shaken.

According to officials, Van Culin came in contact with all of his victims in a similar manner. First, he befriended the girls on popular social media sites, often posing as a teenage boy. Then, he would attempt to obtain explicit photos of them through social networks, or by hacking into their email accounts. The photos would be used for blackmail.

Van Culin also allegedly obtained sexually explicit photos and videos of four underage girls, and attempted to blackmail a fifth girl into sending him more explicit photos.

As a result, Van Culin was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and 8 ½ years of parole ineligibility.

Christopher Terraciano, 20, of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, has been arrested after making arrangements to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.

Terraciano began contacting the child online, and eventually sent the child a sexually explicit image. He then began arranging a meeting with a child, with full intention to have sex with her.

According to Attorney General Kane, an adult who knew the child reported the correspondence to authorities, prompting an investigation by the Child Predator Section. Once the investigation began, Terraciano continued sending the child sexually explicit messages.

While plans were finalized and a meeting location was determined, Terraciano arrived at the location expecting to see the 12-year-old girl.

Instead, he was met by authorities and taken into custody.

He is currently being held in prison, and will have his preliminary hearing on Aug. 16.

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