AG: Ex-Union City man coerced 5 underage girls into getting naked on webcam

0
5057

A former Union City man is accused of coercing five underage girls into getting naked and “engaging in sexual conduct” on a webcam, getting indicted today as the result of an investigation dating back to 2013, state Attorney General Chris Porrino announced.

Daniel Derringer III. Photo courtesy of the state attorney general's office.
Daniel Derringer III. Photo courtesy of the state attorney general’s office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Daniel Derringer III, 28, of Lake Worth, Fla., formerly of Union City, N.J., was indicted by a state grand jury for four counts of manufacturing child pornography, five courts of extortion, one count of distribution of child pornography, four counts of promoting obscene material to a person under 18, three counts of debauching the morals of a child and one count of possession of child pornography, authorities said.

“Derringer allegedly is a serial sexual predator who used the anonymity of the Internet to exploit underage girls, deceiving and threatening his victims to force them to comply with his deviant demands,” Porrino said in a statement.

“He represents the darkest side of the Internet and every parent’s nightmare. Thanks to the courage of the victim who came forward and the excellent work of our investigators, we uncovered more of Derringer’s alleged crimes and have indicted him on serious criminal charges.”

The charges stem from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Three of the victims were 15 at the time of the alleged offenses, and one was 14. The fifth victim was 16 at the time.

Under the statutes in effect at the time, a child was defined as under 16 for purposes of the state’s child pornography law; now the law defines a child as under 18.

The investigation began when a 15-year-old girl in Minnesota reported to local police that she had been coerced into engaging in sexual conduct on a webcam by a person who contacted her online through a social networking site, claiming to be another girl of the same age, officials said.

The person, allegedly Derringer, transmitted a video of an underage girl touching herself in a sexual manner to make the victim believe she was seeing the girl who was chatting with her.

He then allegedly convinced the victim to take off her top and expose her breasts in front of her webcam.

Derringer is further accused of recording the act before getting on his own webcam, revealing that he had been lying about his identity, and told her that if she didn’t do as he told her, he would post the video of her exposing her breasts on the Internet.

He also allegedly ordered the girl to disrobe before demanding that she touch herself in a sexual manner and assume various poses to better expose herself.

Meanwhile, Derringer masturbated and exposed his genitals to the girl via his webcam, as well as showing her sexually explicit videos of other young girls, authorities said.

The victim used her cell phone to take a photo of her computer screen with her assailant’s face visible, and police in Minnesota traced the communications to the address of Derringer, who was living in New Jersey at that time.

They alerted the New Jersey State Police. The State Police matched the photo taken by the victim with Derringer. The State Police executed a search warrant on April 4, 2013 at Derringer’s residence in Union City and seized computer equipment.

Derringer was arrested by the Union City Police three days later when he returned from a trip out of state.

Forensic examination of the computer equipment seized from Derringer revealed numerous videos of incidents similar to that which the Minnesota girl reported to the police.

Detectives, working with other law enforcement agencies across the U.S., were able to identify four additional alleged victims in Washington State, Florida, Indiana and Ohio who were subsequently interviewed.

The investigation revealed that Derringer allegedly used similar methods with those victims, meeting them on chat sites and posing as a girl to convince them to expose and in some cases touch themselves on webcams while he secretly recorded them, officials said.

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Additionally, Fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Derringer’s offenses occurred before August 2013, when Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed a new child pornography law that made possession of child pornography a third-degree offense and substantially enhanced the penalties for those who possess, distribute or manufacture child pornography.