SOUTH RIVER — A borough man has been found guilty of soliciting, receiving, and possessing child pornography, then trying to destroy the evidence to impede a federal probe.

In a release Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark announced the conviction of Charles Browne, 52, of South River after a six-day trial, concluding a near five-year investigation.

Authorities said that in September 2017, a cloud-based file service flagged what appeared to be child sex abuse material connected to a screen name and email address bearing Browne's name.

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Other files in the account included two copies of Browne's resume, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

More than a year and a half later, on April 8, 2019, authorities said Browne's vehicle was stopped about a mile away from his home at which time, upon questioning, he denied knowledge of the child pornography, nor having an iPad FBI agents were seeking.

Browne then admitted he did have an iPad but claimed it was at his residence, and was dropped back off at his locked car.

At trial, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Browne further admitted that after the traffic stop, he broke into his vehicle, removed the iPad and an iPhone which were both inside, walked to a nearby private beach, and threw both electronic devices into the bay.

However, the FBI later interviewed a neighbor who claimed to have seen Browne attempt to discard the electronics, which a dive team then recovered from the water.

Data from both devices were restored, according to authorities, revealing a number of pictures and videos of child sexual abuse.

Browne is scheduled to be sentenced in November. Each of the four counts on which he was convicted carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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