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Former police officer sentenced to prison for obstructing child pornography investigation

CAMDEN, NJ—A former Pennsville, New Jersey Police officer was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for obstructing the FBI’s investigation of his alleged possession of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Robert Waterman, 32, of Wrightstown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to an indictment charging him with one count of obstruction of a federal investigation in connection with his destruction of a computer hard drive.

According to the indictment and statements made in court:

Waterman was formerly a police officer with the Pennsville Police Department. On March 4, 2010, while he was still a member of that department, FBI special agents told Waterman that he was being investigated for alleged possession of child pornography. During the plea hearing, Waterman admitted that following this interview with the FBI, he located a hard drive in his garage and placed it in his patrol car. Waterman admitted that he then broke apart the hard drive’s circuit board into small pieces while in his patrol car at the police department. Waterman admitted he did this to obstruct the FBI’s investigation.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Kugler sentenced Waterman to serve three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Hanko in Philadelphia, with the investigation. He also thanked the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John T. Lenahan, and officers of the Pennsville Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Allen J. Cummings, for their cooperation and assistance with the investigation.

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