Middlesex County News

Dunellen School Board President Arrested on Child Porn Charges

19e8bc1cb6de03baf209_Phillip-Heiney.jpg
19e8bc1cb6de03baf209_Phillip-Heiney.jpg

TRENTON – Dunellen Board of Education President Phillip Heiney shared over the Internet pornographic videos featuring adult men involved in sex acts with young girls, including one bound in rope, according to authorities, who announced his arrest today.

Heiney, 67, used a file-sharing network to distribute the illegal images, said state Attorney General Christopher Porrino.  He was arrested early today morning when detectives and agents from the state Division of Criminal Justice and ICE Homeland Security Investigations executed a search warrant at his home in Dunellen, according to Porrino. 

With assistance from the Dunellen Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the investigators found numerous images and videos of child pornography during a preliminary examination of Heiney’s computers, Porrino said.

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The attorney general said Heiney faces charges of second-degree distribution of child pornography and third-degree possession of child pornography.  He was placed in the Middlesex County Jail with bail set at $75,000, Porrino said.

According to the attorney general, authorities seized more than 100 pieces of computer equipment at Heiney’s house, including laptops, hard drives, thumb drives and other media storage devices. These were taken to the Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Hamilton for forensic examination, Porrino said.

The New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force launched the probe into Heiney after a detective in the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, while looking into peer-to-peer file sharing on a file-sharing network used by child pornography traders, found a computer address that offered multiple files of child pornography that anybody could download from a shared file using file-sharing software, said the attorney general.

He said the detective downloaded two videos showing adult men performing sex acts with prepubescent girls. The IP address sharing the child pornography was traced to Heiney’s residence and State Police referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice, Porrino said.

“The Division of Criminal Justice subsequently received information and evidence from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada, which had downloaded a video from a shared folder at the same IP address, traced to Heiney’s residence, showing an adult male engaging in a sexual act with a prepubescent girl who was blindfolded and bound with rope,” said Porrino’s statement. 

The video “also depicted sexually explicit conduct involving a dog and the bound girl,” Porrino noted.

“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,” said Porrino. “Anyone who would commit such crimes belongs in prison, not in our schools.”

DCA Director Elie Honig also said he found the allegations heinous. “It’s not news that these offenders come from all segments of society, but it’s certainly alarming when the person arrested holds such a prominent position in his local school district,” said Honig. “Working with our ICAC partners, we will remain tireless in our efforts to patrol the Internet and catch those who trade these abhorrent images.”

State Police Col. Rick Fuentes also weighed-in, commenting, “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.”

Fuentes added that, “Heinous acts like those alleged in this case only strengthen our resolve to root out those who peddle smut on the Internet.”

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, said the attorney general’s office.

Porrino and Honig urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children online or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tip line at 888-648-6007.

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