Feds: Kearny man, a former NJ youth & family case worker, indicted on child porn, attempted sex trafficking of a minor charges

His job was once to protect children from irresponsible adults as a caseworker for the NJ Department of Children and Family Services. Now the same man who calls Kearny his home finds himself indicted on child pornography charges.

The former state employee, whose arrest The Observer reported Sept. 30, 2021, was indicted Aug. 18, 2022, on charges of possession and transportation of child pornography and attempted sex trafficking of a minor, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Sept. 28, 2021, Trent Collier, 56, of Kearny, arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport aboard a flight from the Dominican Republic. Law enforcement officials searched Collier’s mobile phone and identified at least two images of child pornography depicting prepubescent children. Based on an analysis of the phone, Collier reportedly sent the images via WhatsApp messages.

The investigation also revealed from June 19, 2021, through Sept. 29, 2021, Collier attempted to solicit a minor for a commercial sex act.

The charge of possession of child pornography carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of transportation of child pornography carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of attempted sex trafficking of a minor carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. Each count also carries a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General with the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Camila A. Garces, of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.

When he was arrested in 2021, Collier was released on $50,000 unsecured bond. It is not immediately clear whether his bond is still in force.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.