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Mercer Daily Voice serves East Windsor, Ewing Township, Hamilton Township, Hightstown, Hopewell, Lawrence, Pennington, Princeton, Robbinsville, Trenton, West Windsor & Windsor

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South Jersey Pair Arrested On Child Pornography Charges, Including High School Student-Teacher

Matthew Natale, former student-teacher at a high school in Monmouth County. Photo Credit: Burlington County Prosecutor's Office
Robert Chestnut Photo Credit: Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

A pair of men from South Jersey have been arrested on child pornography charges as part of Operation Safe Quarantine, authorities said.

One of the Burlington County men arrested had been a student-teacher at Middletown South High School in Monmouth County, authorities said on Friday. 

He was identified as Matthew Natale, 22, of the 1400 block of Virginia Court in the Marlton section of Evesham. 

Natale was charged on Tuesday with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and one count of tampering with evidence, Coffina said. The charges involve the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material.

The second Burlington County suspect arrested was Robert Chestnut, 68, of the first block of Oakview Court in Shamong, Coffina said. Chestnut was charged on Wednesday with endangering the welfare of a child. The third-degree charge involves the possession of child sexual abuse material, Coffina said. 

The first investigation found that Natale was using email to trade images and videos of pre-pubescent boys, the prosecutor said. The BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit received information regarding Natale’s online activities from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Natale was released from custody after his first appearance in Superior Court. Several conditions were placed on his release by Judge Terrence R. Cook. He is forbidden from using a smart phone, cannot access social media, and cannot use the internet unless he is attending virtual college classes or seeking employment.

Natale can have no unsupervised contact with children and is no longer permitted to work as a student teacher at Middletown South High School in Monmouth County, Coffina said. Officials with the Middletown Township Public School District terminated his student teaching assignment after becoming aware of the charges, the prosecutor said. 

The second suspect's investigation began after the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit received information regarding Chestnut’s online activities from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The investigation found that Chestnut was searching for and viewing images of pre-pubescent girls on his laptop computer and other digital devices.

Chestnut was released following a first appearance in Superior Court. 

Natale and Chestnut join multiple defendants arrested recently by the BCPO for possessing and distributing child sexual abuse material. . As part of the BCPO’s ongoing Operation Safe Quarantine, which targets the online exploitation of children, charges have been filed against 30 individuals since last May.

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