UNION CITY — A man who Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino described as a "serial sexual predator," has been indicted on several charges after an investigation showed he used the internet to force girls across the country to make pornographic images for his personal enjoyment.

Daniel Derringer III, who lives in Lake Worth, Florida, but formerly lived in Union City, was indicted by a grand jury on 18 counts, including manufacturing child pornography, extortion, distribution of child pornography, and debauching the morals of a child.

An investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau found that three of Derringer's alleged victims were 15 at the time of the offense, and one was 14.A fifth victim, according to Porrino, was 16, authorities said.

That age was considered to be the age of a child at the time of the alleged offenses. That has since been changed to 18 when Gov. Chris Christie signed a new child pornography law making it a third-degree crime and increasing the penalties.

Porrino said the investigation started after a 15-year-old Minnesota girl told authorities she had been "coerced," by someone who claimed to be a girl of the same age to use a webcam for what he described as "sexual conduct." He said Derringer is then alleged to have sent that girl a video of another young girl touching herself suggestively, claiming that girl was him.

After the girl took her top off on the webcam, Porrino said, Derringer revealed his true identity, and threatened to post the video on the internet if she did not follow his directions. While ordering the girl to do inappropriate actions, Derringer masturbated and exposed himself on the webcam while also showing the girl other videos of young girls, Porrino said.

During the encounter, Porrino said, the girl took a picture of her screen showing Derringer's face, and Minnesota police traced the contact to Derringer while he was living in New Jersey.

Police in Minnesota then contacted the New Jersey State Police, who executed a search warrant at Derringer's home in April of 2013, Porrino said. Further investigation through a forensic examination of his computer equipment showed similar incidents involving at least four other alleged victims, according to Porrino. The victims were identified as living in Washington State, Florida, Indiana, and Ohio, he said.

Porrino said investigators who contacted the other victims all described similar encounters with Derringer.

"Derringer allegedly is a serial sexual predator who used the anonymity of the Internet to exploit underage girls, deceiving and threatening his victims to force them to comply with his deviant demands," Porrino said. "He represents the darkest side of the Internet and every parent's nightmare."

Porrino credited the "courage," of the victims for coming forward with the charges, combined with the work of the investigators with bringing Derringer to justice.

"Derringer allegedly manipulated, extorted and intimidated children across the country to satisfy his sickening impulses," Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, added. "Internet crimes know no boundaries or state lines, but thanks to cooperative, multi-jurisdictional investigations like this one," child predators have no place to hide."

Derringer was charged with four counts of second degree manufacturing child pornography, five counts of second degree extortion, one count of second degree distribution of child pornography, four counts of third degree promoting obscene material to a person under 18, three counts of third degree debauching the morals of a child, and one count of fourth degree possession of child pornography.

The second-degree crimes carry a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, with third degree crimes carrying a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000. Fourth degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Porrino said the indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County. The case was assigned to Hudson County where Porrino sid Derringer will face a later court date.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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