MORRISTOWN — A 19-year-old is accused of using the app Telegram to secretly record his teenage victims and distribute videos of their sexual activity to his co-conspirators.

Ruben Gonzalez was arrested on Monday, June 27, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll. The Morristown teenager is charged with operating a child pornography ring between December 2020 and November 2021.

Carroll said Gonzalez secretly recorded his victims engaging in sexual activity using the "screen record" option on his cell phone. The victims, several of whom were underage, were unaware of the recording and did not consent, according to Carroll.

Morris County court house
(Morris County Prosecutor's Office via Facebook)
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Gonzalez would then use the Telegram app to send these videos to other members of his child porn network, Carroll said. Carroll added that investigators discovered the operation and several videos after examining Gonzalez's cell phone.

Among the new charges, Gonzalez faces one count of second-degree leader of a child pornography network along with 25 other charges. That is in addition to previous accusations that he sexually assaulted at least four teenage victims ranging from 14 to 18 years old.

Prosecutors charged Gonzalez last December with first-degree aggravated sexual assault on a physically helpless victim, eight counts of second-degree sexual assault, and eleven other charges.

Gonzalez is currently being held at the Morris County Correctional Facility. His next detention hearing is July 12.

Includes previous reporting from Erin Vogt.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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Over the past few years, state lawmakers have taken on the challenge of dealing with accused child predators among the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter New Jersey school background checks related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The follow individuals were arrested over the past several years. Some have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while others have accepted plea deals for probation.

Others cases are still pending, including some court delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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