Law & Justice

Former Gym Teacher Who Was Head Wrestling Coach at East Orange High School Indicted on Child Pornography and Drug Charges

Justin Bozinta Credits: NJ Office of the Attorney General

TRENTON, NJ – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a former gym teacher who also was the head wrestling coach at East Orange Campus High School has been indicted on charges of possessing child pornography and operating a marijuana production facility.

Justin W. Bozinta, 39, of Roselle, who is suspended from his job as a physical education teacher at Costley Middle School in East Orange, was indicted Tuesday, Jan. 31, by a state grand jury on charges of third-degree possession of child pornography, first-degree maintaining or operating a marijuana production facility, second-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, second-degree possession of marijuana within 500 feet of a public park, and fourth-degree possession of marijuana.

Bozinta was arrested on Feb. 13, 2015 by the Division of Criminal Justice, assisted by the Roselle Police Department. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau revealed that images of child pornography allegedly were uploaded by Bozinta to a Google+ photo account using a computer located at a school facility. The investigation, which began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, allegedly linked Bozinta to the email account used to upload the images. While executing a search warrant at Bozinta’s home on Sheridan Avenue in Roselle as part of the child pornography investigation, detectives found a major indoor marijuana growing operation. The “grow room” was equipped with a special ventilation system, high-powered lights and chemicals to encourage plant growth. Approximately 40 growing marijuana plants were found, along with packaging materials. Numerous images of child pornography were found on Bozinta’s computer equipment. Investigative assistance was provided by ICE Homeland Security Investigations, the New Jersey State Police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

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“It’s shocking that a man who had responsibility for teaching and coaching young students allegedly was uploading child pornography on a school computer and farming marijuana in his home for distribution,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We’ll see that Bozinta is vigorously prosecuted for his alleged crimes and never again works in a school environment where he could harm children.”

“Our investigation revealed that Bozinta was living a double life, secretly trafficking drugs and child pornography,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The fact that he was a teacher engaging in these alleged crimes, which cause so much harm to children, makes this case particularly egregious.”

After his arrest, Bozinta was lodged in the Union County Jail with bail set at $275,000, full cash required. He has since posted bail. Bozinta was hired by the East Orange School District in 2000. The district suspended Bozinta after he was initially charged and has filed papers to terminate his employment.

Deputy Attorney General Marie McGovern presented the case to the grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Attorney General McGovern, Detective Richard DaSilva Jr. and former Detective Sgt. Thomas Turley, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Michael A. Monahan, former Deputy Bureau Chief Kenneth Sharpe, Deputy Bureau Chief Julia Glass, Lt. Lisa A. Shea and Lt. Jon Powers.

Attorney General Porrino thanked the Roselle Police Department, ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Newark, the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and Marijuana Eradication Unit, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their valuable assistance.

The first-degree charge of operating a marijuana production facility carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison, including a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, and a fine of up to $750,000. The charge applies to production of marijuana if it involves more than five pounds of marijuana or more than 10 marijuana plants. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Timothy P. Lydon in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Essex County, where Bozinta will be ordered to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.

Follow the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office online at TwitterFacebookInstagram & YouTube. The social media links provided are for reference only. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.

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