Indictments returned by a grand jury against two individuals Tuesday bring the number of people charged in Monmouth County this fall with offenses involving possession or distribution of child sexual abuse materials to eight, according to a release from the prosecutor's office.

One of the two newly indicted people, 38-year-old Jonathan W. Cruz of Aberdeen, is also one of two charged with first-degree crimes. Cruz, arrested in January 2020, faces two charges of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, both via distribution of child sexual abuse materials using a file-sharing program available to others, and possession of child sexual abuse materials.

Michael Pipitone, 39, of Middletown, arrested in September 2020 and indicted earlier this fall, faces the same first-degree charge of distribution as Cruz, and a second-degree charge of possession.

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All others indicted, including Neil Ridgway, 58, of Howell, for whom charges were also returned on Tuesday, are charged with either second- or third-degree offenses.

Ridgway was the first of the group to be arrested, in April 2019.

In addition to Pipitone, the prosecutor's office identified five others who were indicted on related charges prior to Cruz and Ridgway:

  • Carl Aliwalas, 29, of Neptune Township, arrested May 2021;
  • John Coluzzi, 33, of Manalapan, arrested May 2021;
  • Marvin Diaz, 35, of Howell, arrested November 2019;
  • David Eidman, 57, of Long Branch, arrested November 2020;
  • Charles Hoagland, 57, of Hazlet, arrested November 2020.

A ninth individual, 40-year-old Kenneth Megill of Wall Township, who was arrested in January 2020, was indicted earlier in the fall on third-degree charges of attempted endangering the welfare of a child and attempted obscenity to a minor, for allegedly having inappropriate conversations and trying to show inappropriate materials to a juvenile.

The most serious, first-degree charges are punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison, according to the prosecutor's office.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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