A former corrections officer has plead guilty to distributing child porn images and videos using a mobile chat application to share the files over the internet, announced U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Michael Ruggiero, 37, of Forked River pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of distribution of child pornography.

Carpenito said that from April 16, 2016, to April 19, 2016, Ruggiero used a mobile chat application to distribute and share over the internet images and videos of child sexual abuse.

Some of the images and videos were of prepubescent children or children under the age of 12.

Ruggiero also admitted that he received over the same mobile chat application other images and videos of child sexual abuse and that he possessed additional depictions of child sexual abuse on his cellular telephone at the time of his arrest in June 2017.

The charge of distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 3, 2019.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense counsel: Telesforo Del Valle Jr. Esq., New York.

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