FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A jury didn't buy the story by a retired computer scientist that the images depicting sexual abuse found in his home belonged to his dead son.

James Simmons, 74, who was also a former federal government contractor, was arrested and charged in July 2017 as part of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Operation: School's Out. The operation resulted in 14 arrests.

Investigators said Simmons used peer-to-peer file-sharing software to make child pornography images and videos available to others online from his home on Harding Road in Freehold Township. During his trial, Simmons testified that the materials and files found by investigators belonged to his son, who had died prior to Simmons’ arrest.

A jury convicted Wednesday of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child by distribution of child sexual abuse material and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child by possession of child sexual abuse material.

Simmons must register as a Megan's Law offender. He will have his internet access restricted by a judge and could be sentenced to over ten years in a New Jersey state prison.

"It is imperative that we continue to do all that we can to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our children, from being victimized in this way,” Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said in a written statement after the verdict.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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