Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

New Jersey Gym Teacher in Child Porn Investigation Allegedly Had Cache of Weapons, 40 Pot Plants at His House

A 37-year-old New Jersey gym teacher and wrestling coach has been arrested for allegedly uploading child porn through a school computer, and authorities say they found a shotgun, silence and 40 pot plants at his house when they searched it in connection with their investigation.

Justin Bozinta, of Roselle, was arrested Friday on child pornography, drug and weapons charges. He teaches at Costly Middle School in East Orange and has worked in the district since 2000, prosecutors say. Bozinta also is the head wrestling coach at East Orange Campus High School.

Investigators began looking into Bozinta after getting a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that child pornography images had been uploaded from an IP address within a school using an email account later traced to the suspect.

Authorities say Bozinta allegedly uploaded several images to a Google+ photo account using a computer within the school. Investigators conducting a search warrant in connection with the child pornography probe allegedly found more sexual images on Bozinta's external computer hard drive. They also discovered 40 marijuana plants in what prosecutors called a major "grow room" equipped with a special ventilation system, high-powered lights and chemicals.

Bozinta's computers were seized along with the plants and a small armory he had in his home -- seven handguns, four rifles, a shotgun and a homemade silence, prosecutors said.

It wasn't clear if Bozinta had an attorney. He's being held in lieu of $275,000 cash bail.

"It’s appalling that a man entrusted with instructing and mentoring young students as a teacher and coach allegedly was dealing drugs and sexually exploiting children by viewing child pornography online,” Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement. "For a teacher to engage in those crimes, which drive so much harm and abuse of children, is a shocking betrayal."

“Our investigation is ongoing and we will continue to follow all leads to expose the full scope of Bozinta’s alleged drug dealing and involvement with child pornography,” added Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig. “He already faces a first-degree drug charge carrying a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison, but it is critical that we determine if others were involved and whether his conduct impacted students in the district. We urge anyone with information to contact us confidentially.”

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