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April 15, 2016

Egg Harbor man admits sharing lewd image with Philadelphia teen

Zachary McFerren, 54, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine

An Egg Harbor Township man pleaded guilty Friday to sharing a lewd image of himself with a Philadelphia teenager using the "Kik" online messaging application.

Appearing at the U.S. District Court in Camden, 54-year-old Zachary McFerren accepted charges of possession of child pornography and transferring obscene matter to a minor.

Court documents and statements indicate that McFerren possessed a collection of child pornography images on his home computer between March and May of 2015. In April 2015, he admitted adopting the screen name "Emily" on Kik to communicate with a Philadelphia-area teenager. In his conversation with the minor and her friend, McFerrin asked both of them to send him nude photographs of themselves.

McFerren also admitted sending a photo of his genitals to a Florida girl under the age of 16 in September 2015.

Both charges in McFerren's plea carry a 'maximum potential penalty' of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 21.

The investigation was carried out by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, including special agents of the FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency and detectives of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.