BURLINGTON COUNTY (WTXF) - A Burlington County man was sentenced to state prison Friday for manipulating underage girls into engaging in sexual conduct on a webcam while he recorded them via the internet.
According to a press release, he met the young girls through an anonymous chat service and convinced them to play a game he came up with called "The Countdown." The game started as a question-and-answer game, but eventually progressed to explicit commands for sexual conduct.
24-year-old Daniel P. Caplan was sentenced to six years in state prison, including two years of parole ineligibility.
Caplan will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law and faces parole supervision for life.
On April 22, Caplan pleaded guilty to second-degree charges of manufacturing child pornography by manipulating girls under the age of 16 into engaging in sexual conduct on a webcam. Caplan also admitted to distributing other files of child pornography by making them available in a shared folder of his computer for others to download using file-sharing software.
"Caplan was every parent's worst Internet nightmare," said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. "We're devoting significant resources to patrolling the Internet and prosecuting these cases, so we can put these predators in prison, where they can no longer exploit children."
"By repeatedly stalking young girls to satisfy his deviant impulses, Caplan revealed himself to be a dangerous predator," said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. "When he gets out after serving his prison term, he will continue to be monitored under parole supervision for life."
"The only countdown game that Daniel Caplan will be playing now is the one where he is counting the number of years he has left on his prison sentence," said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. "I commend the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and our partners, who work tirelessly on these dark investigations to ensure justice is served."
Caplan was arrested on August 7, 2013 by NJ State police and other members of the NJ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
A detective initiated an investigation into peer-to-peer file sharing on a file-sharing network popular with offenders who trade child pornography. The detective discovered a computer IP address that was offering multiple files of child pornography for any user to download using file-sharing software, and the detective successfully downloaded eight videos of child pornography, including videos of adult males raping prepubescent girls.
The IP address was traced to Caplan's Mount Laurel home, where he was arrested. Officials executed a search warrant and seized computer equipment, including a laptop and a tower PC.
The equipment was taken to the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory in Hamilton and it was revealed that more than 1,000 files of child pornography, mostly videos, had been downloaded and shared from his shared folder.
After he pled guilty earlier this year, Caplan was arrested on May 12 by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office on charges of possession and distribution of child pornography. Those charges are pending.