South River man accused of possessing, dumping pornographic images into creek

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A South River man was charged with allegedly receiving files depicting child sexual abuse and concealing objects to impede the FBI’s investigation.

Charles F. Browne, 52, is charged by complaint with one count of receiving child pornography and one count of concealing an object to impede a federal investigation, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito on June 25.

He was scheduled to appear on June 25 by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, in September 2017, Dropbox Inc. noticed that child pornography had been uploaded to a Dropbox account with the screen name “Charles Browne” and an email address containing the term “cbrowne.” The FBI obtained the files that were uploaded to the Dropbox account, which reportedly included prepubescent child sexual abuse and a resume for Browne, according to the statement.

On April 8, 2019, law enforcement reportedly approached Browne, as he left his then-residence in Toms River, to interview him about an ongoing investigation. Subsequent to the interview, he allegedly disposed of items in the Kettle Creek, a coastal waterway, according to the statement.

On April 12, 2019, the Ocean County Sherriff’s Office deployed a drone at the end of the pier and located an object of interest, according to reports. FBI divers were deployed and recovered an iPad and iPhone, both of which had been previously registered with Browne’s Apple iCloud account, according to the allegations.

Further review of the recovered devices indicated they had been at Brown’s residence and near a body of water north of Bay Terrace Road, according to the accusations. One had reportedly been at the location where his care was pulled over. The recovered iPad contained videos depicting prepubescent child sexual abuse and emails to and from accounts linked to Browne, officials said.

The count of receipt of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and fine of $250,000. The count of concealing objects to impede a federal investigation count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.