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Former youth military camp leader pleads guilty to child porn charges

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

The director of a Jersey Shore military camp for kids admitted in federal court today that he trafficked in online kiddie porn.

Cedar Bridge Academy photo

The depictions included prepubescent minors, some in depictions of sadism and other forms of violence to youngsters, Steven T. Baryla, 29, of Toms River, told U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano.

At the time, Baryla headed the Cedar Bridge Military Academy in Toms River, a private, faith-based non-profit organization that served youths 11 to 17 who were interested in military-style training.

The now-defunct academy — which some parents said was actually a camp — charged $2,250 for basic cadet training and $2,350 for advanced training, preaching a code of “duty, honor and country.”

Youngsters from throughout New Jersey — and as far as Ireland — flocked to the camp, which was closed after five years following Baryla’s arrest in June 2009.

“The end goal,” according to the academy’s website, “is not only to prepare those who want to join the military for service in our armed forces, but also to give every cadet a sense of self worth, accomplishment, compassion for others, and to prepare them for one of the most challenging events… Life.”

Baryla, top, from the Cedar Bridge website


The statutory maximum penalty for the conviction is up to 20 years in prison, with supervised released, and fines that range up to $250,000. Pisano set sentencing for May 10.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Franklin Township Residence Agency, the Beachwood Police Department, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for making the case, presented by Assistant U.S. A ttorney Jennifer Davenport.

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