NJ woman denied bail in online sex abuse case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) ? A New Jersey waitress cried in court Monday as she heard a prosecutor accuse her of “extreme sexual assault” on a 5-year-old girl she was baby-sitting and of streaming video of the abuse online.

Authorities say Jennifer Mahoney, 32, of Manalapan, laughed while she sexually assaulted the child, and again as she streamed the video to at least two other people. They say she confessed twice to different sets of investigators.

Mahoney has been charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and was denied bail at a federal court hearing in Trenton. She had requested to wear a global positioning device, stay away from the victim and post her parents’ home as collateral for bail, which has been set at $500,000.

“Law enforcement has recovered a video capture of extreme sexual assault,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Clabby said. “There is danger to the public, and the risk of flight.”

During the hearing in U.S. District Court, Mahoney wiped away tears, buried her face in her hands and cried softly as her attorney, Herbert Ellis, rubbed her back. Later, she rocked quickly back and forth in her chair, not speaking except to reply, “Yes, your honor,” when asked whether she understood her rights.

Ellis, her lawyer, said he needs to speak to Mahoney in detail before deciding how to proceed. He said he wants to see her videotaped confession to authorities to determine how it was given and under what circumstances.

Mahoney has been in custody since Dec. 14, the day after three pornographic videos showing assaults on the girl were found on the computer of a 32-year-old Texas man to whom she had streamed them, prosecutors said.

That man, Robert Ramos Jr. of Austin, was charged with possession of child pornography and sexual exploitation of minors. Prosecutors in Texas say he set up seven fake Facebook accounts to solicit teenage girls to send him nude photos and videos of themselves engaged in sexual acts.

When the FBI questioned her, she acknowledged performing a sex act on the child while she was baby-sitting her, court documents say.

She also told investigators she streamed live video of one of the sexual assaults to two men using a chat service and acknowledged filming another assault with her cellphone and sending video of it to two other people, court documents say. No other mention of a second recipient is included in court documents.

Later on the day of her arrest, she gave a separate videotaped confession to New Jersey authorities, Clabby said.

Two of the videos appeared to have been made in Mahoney’s bedroom, the third in the bathtub of her home, the affidavit says.

The affidavit describes the sexual assaults in graphic terms. On one, the FBI agent notes, there is no audio. But, the agent notes, “it appears that the adult female is talking and laughing during the video, and it appears that the adult female is talking to another person over the Internet via a webcam.”

Ramos remains in custody in Texas. Court documents include a transcript of a handwritten statement Ramos gave to the FBI in which he acknowledges soliciting underage girls to send him nude photos but insists he never had sexual contact with a minor.

“What I have done was stupid and not worth anything,” he wrote. “I am very sorry and have made some terrible mistakes.”

His lawyer did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.


Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC.