DUNELLEN — The borough's school board president was arrested Tuesday after authorities say he used a file-sharing program to share videos and pictures of children being raped and sexually abused, including images of a girl involved in bestiality.

Phillip C. Heiney, 67, has been charged with second-degree distribution and third-degree possession of child pornography.

The arrest comes less than a week after authorities announced the bust of 40 men from every county of the state on charges of sharing and possessing child pornography.

Heiney also is the latest borough official to be hit with a child and sex-related crime in recent years. Dunellen’s recreation director was charged in 2014 with sexually assaulting two boys.

“It’s appalling that a man who leads his local school board and holds himself out as being concerned about young students would allegedly participate in the depraved sexual exploitation of innocent children by viewing and distributing child pornography online,”  state Attorney General Christopher Porrino said Tuesday. “Anyone who would commit such crimes belongs in prison, not in our schools.”

Heiney is serving a three-year term on the school board that was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017, according to the school district's website. Dunellen Superintendent of Schools Gene Mosley did not immediately responded Tuesday to requests for comment.

According to a statement from the attorney general, agents from the state Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at Heiney's Dunellen home. Police say during a search of his computer, they allegedly discovered "numerous images and videos of child pornography."

According to authorities, more than 100 pieces of computer equipment were located and seized during the search of Heiney's home. The attorney general said law enforcement officers found laptops, hard drives, thumb drives and other "media storage devices." The equipment is undergoing a full forensic examination at the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Hamilton, Porrino said.

The attorney general said the investigation that was initiated by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force into the alleged child pornography began after a detective in the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit identified a computer address that was "offering multiple files of child pornography for any user to download from a shared file using file-sharing software." Authorities say the peer-to-peer file-sharing network was popular among offenders who are known to trade images and videos of child pornography.

During their investigation, police were able to download child pornography from the shared folder. The files depicted "adult males engaged in sexual acts with prepubescent girls," the attorney general said. Authorities then traced the IP address of the computer sharing the files back to Heiney's residence.

In addition, police learned that investigators from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada were also able to download a video originating from Heiney's IP address that showed an adult male engaged in sex acts with a young girl who was blindfolded and bound with rope, as well as "sexually explicit conduct" that involved a dog and a young girl who was also bound.

 

Heiney was being held in Middlesex County jail with full-cash bail set at $75,000.

If convicted of the second-degree child porn distribution offense, Heiney could face a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Of convicted of  third-degree possession of child pornography, the school board president could face three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, according to the attorney general.

“While it can be shocking that the president of a school board would allegedly share and view despicable videos and images of child pornography and bestiality, the parents, teachers, students and staff can take some solace in this arrest,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the State Police.  “Heinous acts like those alleged in this case only strengthen our resolve to root out those who peddle smut on the Internet.”

This is the second shocking crime in recent years alleged against a borough official involved with borough schools and youth.

In 2014, Dunellen's municipal recreation director was arrested on charges of raping a 15-year-old boy in 1995 at his Jackson home and another boy in 2010 and 2011 at the borough recreation center and at Middlesex County College, where Christopher Tarver was a basketball coach.

Tarver also was charged with sending sexually explicit texts to a 15-year-old boy in Monmouth and sending sexual texts and providing alcohol and marijuana to a basketball player who was under the age of 21 in 2012 and 2013.

Tarver was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury last year.

The attorney general is urging anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tip line at 888-648-6007.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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