MORRIS COUNTY — A volunteer fire captain has been charged with uploading child pornography while at a firehouse in Netcong, officials said. James T. Hess, 49, of the Landing section of Mt. Arlington, was arrested in connection with the distribution and possession of child sex abuse material.
The defendant has been charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials (CSAM)), a second-degree offense in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(a)(i), and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of CSAM), a third-degree crime in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b)(iii).
The investigation began with a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) referencing the upload of video files allegedly depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of minors.
The video files were allegedly uploaded to Kik, an internet-based chat application, by the defendant, who is also alleged to have viewed CSAM on Kik. Hess allegedly uploaded CSAM while at the Netcong Volunteer Fire Department, where he is a captain. It is further alleged that the defendant possessed additional images of CSAM on an electronic device. The defendant works for the New Jersey Fireman’s Home.
Hess was arrested on the above charges on December 21, 2022. Following his arrest, he was released pursuant to the Criminal Justice Reform Act with pretrial release conditions that included monitoring and limited internet usage.
He attended Roxbury High School.
Prosecutor Carroll would like to acknowledge the Roxbury Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their efforts in this investigation.
If anyone has any information related to the matter, they are asked to call the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of the Sex Crimes / Child Endangerment Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at (973) 285-6200.
Editor’s Note: An arrest or signing of a criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until he or she has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.