A man from Egg Harbor Township has been sentenced to seven years in state prison for distributing thousands of images and videos of child pornography via email.

Thomas Ballard - Photo: State of NJ Attorney General’s Office Press Release

38-year-old Thomas L. Bowen Ballard of Egg Harbor Township was sentenced Friday to seven years in state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life under the law. Ballard pleaded guilty on September 24th to distribution of child pornography under New Jersey’s tough new child pornography statute. In pleading guilty, he admitted that he sent more than 1,000 files of child pornography via email.

We caution you that some details about this case beyond this point may be considered graphic and disturbing.

According to a press release, the investigation into Ballard began when federal agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations were monitoring a foreign-based website and became aware of a user, later identified as Ballard, who bragged that he had impregnated an 8-year-old girl and was soliciting others who were signed up as members of the site to trade child pornography. Agents searched Ballard’s home on September 23, 2014, and arrested him. The investigation revealed that Ballard frequently used forums on the foreign-based website to author explicit posts about the sexual assault and torture of children. He also arranged to trade child pornography with other members of the site.  The investigation revealed that Ballard sent nearly 12,000 videos and images of child pornography to other users from August, 2012, through August, 2014, including videos of young girls being bound and tortured.

“This disturbing case illustrates the mass market for child pornography that exists in the shadows of the Internet, where deviants like Ballard trade these loathsome images and thereby motivate child predators to torture and exploit additional innocent children,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman.  “We’ll continue to use our tough new law to secure lengthy prison sentences with mandatory parole ineligibility for offenders who amass and distribute large quantities of child pornography.”

A law signed by Governor Christie in 2013 calls for a presumptive sentence of three to five years in state prison for possessing 100 or more computer files of child pornography. Under the new law, distribution of 25 or more files of child pornography carries a sentence of five to ten years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum period of five years of parole ineligibility.

The Division of Criminal Justice urges anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the Internet, about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the Internet, or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children, to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at (888) 648-6007.