NEWARK, NJ — A comic book artist from West Orange admitted in federal court on Monday to distributing thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito

Timothy Yates, 31, who was previously arrested and charged by complaint on April 4, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden to information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography.

The US Attorney’s Office released the following information that was compiled through documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

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“Yates is a comic book artist and the author of a comic book series that features a young female heroine on various adventures. Yates traveled to locations across the country to promote his work and attend comic book conventions, which were frequently attended by children.

“On several instances in 2016 and 2017, undercover law enforcement officers accessed a publicly available peer-to-peer network and observed a computer with a certain Internet Protocol address logged into the network that was sharing child pornography images and videos. The computer and IP address were associated with Yates. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence and discovered electronic devices belonging to Yates, which contained thousands of images and videos of child sexual abuse. 

“The charge of distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2019.”

Carpenito credited special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian Michael; inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn; the West Orange Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police James Abbott; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Theodore Stephens II, with the investigation leading to Monday’s guilty plea.