FREEHOLD – Robert J. Ianuale, 32, of Ned Drive in Hazlet, the owner/operator of the online live broadcasting service known as SwerveCast, was arrested Monday at his Hazlet home. An investigation revealed he was engaged in the prostitution of juvenile females and on at least one occasion, tried to lure online viewers to sexually assault a woman and broadcast the assault live over the Internet, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
“Profiting off of the sexual abuse of juveniles is intolerable. We cannot allow innocent children to fall prey to online abusers and predators seeking to line their pockets through the sexual exploitation of their victims. We will prosecute all such defendants to the fullest extent of the law,” Gramiccioni said.
Ianuale was arrested following the culmination of an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Homeland Security Investigations Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSI). The investigation revealed Ianuale, using his online moniker “Fist Pump,” engaged in an online broadcast in May 2015, when he attempted to lure or entice individuals watching his broadcast to sexually assault a 25-year-old New York City woman outside her place of employment. Ianuale offered $100 to anyone who would sexually assault the woman and broadcast the event live.
The investigation also found Ianuale, as the owner/operator of SwerveCast, would allow juvenile females to engage in sexual acts during broadcasts available only to users who paid to view the online broadcasts. In turn, viewers could “tip” the girls using virtual currency that was under the control of Ianuale, and he would pay a percentage of the tipped amount to the juvenile girls in exchange for performing sex acts online.
The victims in this case are a 14-year-old Maryland girl and a 14-year-old Middlesex County, New Jersey, girl. Investigators believe there may be other victims and are asking anyone who witnessed similar behavior or knows of a juvenile who may have participated in similar broadcasts on SwerveCast to call Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective John Sosdian at 732-431-7160 ext. 6592.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous, but has information about SwerveCast or Ianuale may contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers’ confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; or texting “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.
Ianuale is charged with two counts of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child by causing or permitting a child to engage in child pornography; one count of first degree Promoting Prostitution of a Minor; one count of first degree Use of a Juvenile to Commit a Crime; two counts of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Pornography); one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Pornography); one count of third degree Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity; and one count of third degree Luring or Enticing an Adult.
Ianuale was arrested by investigators from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Monday morning with assistance from the HSI, the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Hazlet Police Department, Freehold Township Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Hazlet Township Animal Control.
If convicted of the first degree counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Ianuale faces up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be subject to the provisions of “Megan’s Law” and Parole Supervision for Life following his release from state prison.
If convicted of the other first degree crimes, Ianuale faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. If convicted of the second degree offense, Ianuale faces five to ten years in state prison and the third degree charges expose him to additional sentences of three to five years in prison on each count.
Ianuale is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $450,000 cash only bail, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley. Ianuale was ordered to have no contact with his victims and a Bail Source Hearing is required before he can post bail or be released.
Additionally, Philip Ianuale, 30, of the same Ned Drive address in Hazlet as his brother Robert Ianuale, was arrested Monday by the Hazlet Police Department and charged with one count each of fourth degree Obstructing the Administration of Law, third degree Resisting Arrest and disorderly persons charges for Possession of Drugs and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.