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Authorities: 21 arrests in child sexual exploitation sweep

August 26, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N..J (AP) — An extensive investigation that targeted people who sexually exploited children online has netted 21 arrests in New Jersey,

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the arrests Wednesday, noting they were made between March 18 and July 31. They stemmed from “Operation Screen Capture,” a joint operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the coronavirus pandemic.

Three defendants — two men and a woman – are charged in separate incidents for sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children, Grewal said. Seventeen other men and a juvenile male face child endangerment charges for possessing and/or distributing child sexual abuse materials.

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Grewal said cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force about potential threats to children online have increased up to 50 percent in the state since March, compared to the same time period last year.