A Brick Township man is facing federal criminal charges for the sexual exploitation of minors using social media apps, the office of U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Tuesday.
Christopher Budelman, 36, of Brick, is charged by complaint with two counts of production of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography. He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert by videoconference and was detained. He was listed as an inmate in the Ocean County Jail on Wednesday morning, facing 10 separate charges.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the case dates back to June 2022. While communicating via an online video chat site, Budelman “enticed at least two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he masturbated,” court documents state. Budelman recorded and saved those video chats on his computer.
Earlier, from September 2021 to June 2022, Budelman allegedly used two Kik Messenger accounts to send images and videos containing child sexual abuse, including images and videos depicting prepubescent minors, to others.
A copy of the complaint indicates a Homeland Security Investigations agent, along with a colleague from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, began probing Budelman’s online activities in Oct. 2021 after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The complaint, available online, disturbingly describes recorded sex acts being performed by toddlers as young as 3 and 5 years old, as well as male and female victims who were slightly older, then allegedly distributed by Budelman. Shorebeat has chosen not to describe the shocking acts noted in the complaint in detail.
Budelman was located via his IP address and a phone number associated with the messenger apps, prosecutors said.