A 21-year-old Montclair State University student from Summit, identified as Sean Lynch, has been arrested and charged with the distribution of child pornography, according to an announcement made by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
Lynch appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica S. Allen in Newark federal court, where he was released on $100,000 unsecured bond with home detention and electronic monitoring.
This arrest marks the second case involving child sexual abuse materials that has emerged at Montclair State University.
According to court documents and statements presented during the hearing, Lynch allegedly used an instant messaging mobile application to distribute 72 videos depicting the sexual abuse of children between November 9 and November 14, 2022.
The explicit materials were reportedly sent to various individuals via the messaging platform.
The charge of distribution of child pornography carries severe penalties, including a mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years, a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sellinger credited the U.S. Secret Service for leading the investigation that resulted in Lynch’s arrest. Special Agent in Charge Jose J. Riera directed the Secret Service’s efforts.
Sellinger also expressed gratitude to the Montclair State University Police Department, led by Interim Chief Kieran Barrett, and the New Jersey State Police, led by Col. Patrick J. Callahan, for their assistance throughout the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Fell of the General Crimes Unit in Newark will represent the government in the case against Lynch.
It is important to note that the charges and allegations mentioned in the complaint are accusations, and Lynch is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The complaint was filed by United States Secret Service Agent Kathryn Illuminati, who conducted an investigation, collaborated with other law enforcement officers, and reviewed evidence, including reports, documents, and photographs.
During a lawful search conducted on May 8, 2023, at Lynch’s assigned room at the university and on his person, law enforcement seized an Apple iPhone confirmed to be the device used to distribute the illegal content.
Following the advisement and waiver of his Miranda rights, Lynch provided a recorded statement admitting to using the messaging app and distributing child pornography between November 9 and November 14, 2022. Lynch claimed to have deleted the app from the phone.
Law enforcement believes that the images and videos described were transported and transmitted in interstate commerce using various means, including the internet and an instant messaging mobile application.
On May 8, Keyon Luff, a 21-year-old junior at Montclair State, was charged with allegedly possessing and creating “child sexual abuse and exploitation material,” the result of an investigation led by the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Cybercrime Bureau and Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.
“The alleged behaviors are nothing short of abhorrent, and do not align with the mission and values of Montclair State University,” Andrew Mees, Montclair State’s media relations director, said Wednesday.