TRENTON, NJ - A Flemington man was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in state prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Angela D. Borkowski in Hunterdon County after being convicted of using a file-sharing network to distribute images of children being sexually exploited.

According to a release from the attorney general's office, John M. Rudy, 57, was one of 40 offenders arrested in "Operation Statewide," a child protection operation by the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Rudy will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law, and will be subject to parole supervision for life, according to the release.

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Rudy, the release said, was found guilty Jan. 14 in a jury trial of second-degree charges of distribution of 25 or more items of child pornography and storing or maintaining 25 or more items of child pornography using a file-sharing network, as well as third degree possession of 100 or more items of child pornography.

"By sharing child sexual abuse materials online, this defendant participated in a criminal network that promotes and perpetuates the brutal sexual exploitation of children," Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said in the release. "Our multi-agency efforts to patrol the Internet and put these offenders in prison reflect our commitment to protect children and ensure justice for those who have been victimized. I commend our attorneys and trial team, as well as all of the detectives and investigators who helped secure this prison sentence."

According to the release, while monitoring a peer-to-peer file-sharing network popular with sex offenders, a detective from the New Jersey State Police DITU downloaded more than 50 items of child sexual exploitation material from a shared folder whose computer IP address was traced back to Rudy. He was arrested June 9, 2016, when members of the DITU, alongside the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office and Raritan Township Police Department, executed a search warrant at his home and seized many devices.

Police found that the flash drives and SD cards confiscated had child sexual exploitation material.

Operation Statewide was a multi-agency child protection operation that led to the arrests of 40 men in 2016, with defendants in all New Jersey counties.