HELMETTA, NJ—A volunteer firefighter has been arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
Daniel Leal, a 24-year-old man from Helmetta was arrested at his home on January 5, following an investigation done by the Helmetta Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).
Leal graduated from Spotswood High School in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was approved to be a firefighter by a 5-0 vote of the Helmetta Borough Council in 2013, according to meeting minutes.
Leal's dayjob is apparently at a mortgage firm called "Nüe Resource Funding." The firm posted a photo of Leal on their Facebook page in August of 2015, promoting his skills as a Mortgage Loan Originator.
"As a professional in the mortgage industry, Daniel attributes success to his excellent customer service skills and always keeping the needs of his client first," reads a Facebook post that also notes his service "as a volunteer firefighter keeping the residence and community sale."
Leal also appears along with three other men in an April 2016 photograph shared on the Facebook page of the Helmetta Fire Department (HFD).
Prosecutors allege that, during their investigation, it was revealed that Leal not only possessed child pornography videos and photos with illicit materials, but also that he was exchanging the materials with others on the internet.
The MCPO's official statement did not mention Leal's role with the HFD.
At the time of the MCPO announcement, Leal was being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick.
But Leal has since been released without any bail on January 10, under the new pre-trial procedures implemeted on January 1, according to the jail's records department.
Leal did not immediately respond to a voicemail message from New Brunswick Today. It's not clear if he is still employed at his dayjob, or if he is still a volunteer at the HFD.
Authorities ask that anyone with information regarding this case can contact the MCPO at (732) 745-3600.
Anyone with other information regarding the distribution of child pornography on the Internet – or about possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children, or improper contact or communications with children online – is encouraged to call the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tipline at 888-648-6007.