Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that additional charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-2a(1) and Child Endangerment, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1) were lodged against Samuel Swinger, 34, of Lakewood. Schwinger was originally arrested and charged on April 5, 2019 with Production of Images/Videos of Children Under the Age of Sixteen Engaged in Prohibited Sexual Acts in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(4), Distribution of Images/Videos of Children Under the Age of Sixteen Engaged in Prohibited Sexual Acts in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)AI and Possession of Images/Videos of Children Under the Age of Sixteen Engaged in Prohibited Sexual Acts in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 24-4b(5) BIII. Schwinger is detained in the Ocean County Jail.
Prosecutor Billhimer said “the additional charges are the result of a forensic examination of Schwinger’s cell phone by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit.” Schwinger’s phoned was seized during his arrest while Detectives were executing a search warrant on Schwinger’s residence on April 5, 2019. “The forensic examination revealed videos, text messages and chats where Schwinger was posing as an 11 year old girl, coercing minor victims into performing sex acts” Prosecutor Billhimer said. This investigation began in Oklahoma, where one of the victim’s parents alerted the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma. The parents of an underage girl reported to the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department that their daughter had been contacted by someone in New Jersey posing as an underage girl asking her to send sexually explicit videos of herself. Further investigation revealed the person to be Schwinger.
Prosecutor Billhimer further stated “this defendant was communicating with underage children through the live stream video app LIVE.ME. This app uses geolocation to share videos. Users can target the exact location of the person sharing the video. This is extremely dangerous and parents should be aware if their children have this app on their phone. Parents should be vigilant in monitoring their children’s online activity. It is important to know what your children are viewing, sharing and who they are communicating with.”
Schwinger is a Registered Sex Offender currently serving 10 years of probation for a Sexual Assault out of Cook County, New York. This investigation is ongoing. “The forensic examination of this defendants’ phone has revealed numerous other videos and chats. We are presently trying to identify more victims. We are attempting to match accounts and usernames. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is assisting in this endeavor” Prosecutor Billhimer said.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to thank the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Megan’s Law Unit, Lakewood Police Department, New Jersey State Police, United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for their assistance in this investigation.
The public and media are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.