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News

NJ Transgender Family Used Daughter, 7, To Make Fetishized Porn (SENTENCING)

Marina Volz (bottom left), Sean Allen, Ashley Romero (top right) and Dulcinea Gnecco.
Marina Volz (bottom left), Sean Allen, Ashley Romero (top right) and Dulcinea Gnecco. Photo Credit: Somerset County Prosecutor's Office

A mom and three accomplices were sentenced to a combined 67 years in prison for sexually abusing the woman's 7-year-old daughter to make "amateur, BDSM and taboo fetish" pornography in the child's New Jersey home, authorities said.

Marina Volz (aka Matthew Volz, 32), Ashley Romero (aka Adam Romero), 28), Sean Allen, 54, and Dulcinea Gnecco, 21, were sentenced by Somerset County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Tober on Friday, May 6,  Acting Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart said.

The investigation into the four began in January 2019, when an anonymous caller contacted the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (NJ DCP&P) Child Abuse Hotline to report suspected child abuse in Volz's Coburn Lane home in Franklin Township, Taggart said.

NJ DCP&P personnel and police responded to the home that night, and seized the child, authorities said.

The following day, detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit interviewed the victim, and thereafter obtained and executed a search warrant at the house.

Evidence seized during the search warrant execution — including more than 30 computers, cameras and digital storage devices — and the ensuing investigation found that Volz, Romero and Allen ran what they called a “family-owned transgender pornography production studio specializing in amateur, BDSM and taboo fetish content” from the home, Taggart said. 

The investigation established that in December, 2018, Volz went to the West Coast to assume custody of her biological daughter, 7, and brought her back to New Jersey with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the child, authorities said. 

Romero and Allen assisted Volz in bringing the child to New Jersey to be sexually assaulted and filmed, the prosecutor said. Once in New Jersey, Romero and Allen jointly sexually assaulted the child and filmed the assault, the video of which was recovered from multiple electronic items within the home.

The search of the electronic devices revealed multiple text messages and other electronic communications between defendants Volz, Romero, Allen and third parties discussing the sexual assault of the child. Police also recovered firearms, a high-capacity ammunition magazine, and cocaine from the defendants’ residence.      

On May 29, 2019, police arrested the four defendants, and the State successfully moved for their pretrial detention in the Somerset County Jail. On Nov. 16, 2022, following extensive pretrial litigation, the defendants entered guilty pleas.

  • Volz pleaded guilty to ten counts contained in Indictment 21-08-00615-I: Count 1 charging 1st degree Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-8a(3), Count 2 charging 1st degree Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 3 charging 1st degree Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), Count 4 charging 2nd degree Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 5 charging 1st degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), Count 6 charging 2nd degree Conspiracy to Endanger the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 7 charging 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by engaging in conduct that would impair or debauch the child (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1), Count 11 charging 1st degree Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), Count 12 charging 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by engaging in conduct that would impair or debauch the child (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1), and Count 22 charging 4th degree Possession of a High Capacity Ammunition Magazine (N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3j). During her guilty plea, defendant Volz admitted that she brought her child to New Jersey with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with her, and thereafter sexually assaulted her child both alone and jointly with defendant Romero, and filmed the sexual assault.
  • Romero pled guilty to nine counts contained in the Indictment: Count 1 charging 1st degree Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-8a(3), Count 2 charging 1st degree Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 3 charging 1st degree Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), Count 4 charging 2nd degree Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 5 charging 1st degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), Count 6 charging 2nd degree Conspiracy to Endanger the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 8 charging 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by engaging in conduct that would impair or debauch the child (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1), Count 16 charging 1st degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), and Count 20 charging 3rd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by possessing child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). During her guilty plea, defendant Romero admitted that she assisted defendant Volz in bringing Volz’s child to New Jersey with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with the child, and thereafter sexually assaulted the child jointly with defendant Volz and filmed the sexual assault.
  • Allen pled guilty to five counts contained in the above-captioned Indictment: Count 1 charging 1st degree Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-8a(3), Count 2 charging 1st degree Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2), Count 3 charging 1st degree Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1), Count 4 charging 2nd degree Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2) and Count 5 charging 1st degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by creating child pornography (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3). During his guilty plea, defendant Allen admitted that he assisted defendants Volz and Romero in bringing defendant Volz’s child to New Jersey to be sexually assaulted and filmed.
  • Gnecco pled guilty two counts: Count 18 charging 2nd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2) and Count 19 charging 3rd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). During her guilty plea, defendant Gnecco admitted that she filmed the child victim while the victim was partially naked.

On May 6, 2022, the Hon. Peter J. Tober, P.J.Cr., sentenced defendant Volz to a twenty-five year period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison with a twenty-five year period of parole ineligibility; defendant Romero to a twenty-five year period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison with a twenty-five year period of parole ineligibility; defendant Allen to a twelve year period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison with a ten year period of parole ineligibility, and defendant Gnecco to a five year period of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison. In addition, defendants Volz, Romero and Allen will be required to register pursuant to Megan’s Law and be placed on parole supervision for life upon their release from prison.

Acting Prosecutor Taggart would like to highlight the significance of the anonymous call placed to the New Jersey Child Abuse hotline by a concerned citizen in this case, without which this investigation, and the rescue of the seven year-old child, would not have occurred. Acting Prosecutor Taggart noted that not only are people who suspect child abuse encouraged to report it, but New Jersey law actually requires any person who has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused or neglected to report it to the NJ DCP&P. (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10). Calls may be made anonymously, 24 hours a day, by calling 1-877-NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873. (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10a; N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.12). New Jersey law further provides that individuals who report child abuse in good faith have immunity from criminal or civil liability resulting from such a report. (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.13). Finally, any person who has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or child sexual abuse and fails to report it may be charged with a disorderly persons offense or a 4th degree crime. (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.14). Acting Prosecutor Taggart emphasizes that this case is an example of why people who suspect child abuse must report it, and commends the individual who did so in the present case for initiating the chain of events that ultimately saved this child victim.

The State was represented by Acting First Assistant Prosecutor W. Brian Stack. Defendant Volz was represented by Anthony Cowell, Esq. Defendant Romero was represented by Charles Uliano, Esq. Defendant Allen was represented by William Fetky. Defendant Gnecco was represented by Jack Venturi, Esq.

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