New Jersey Men Sentenced for Production of Child Pornography
PHILADELPHIA—Burton Gersh, 69, and Les Sidweber, 73, both of Cherry Hill, NJ, were sentenced today for production of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond sentenced Gersh to 60 months in prison and Sidweber to 48 months in prison. The defendants pleaded guilty on May 19, 2015.
According to court documents, Gersh and Sidweber transported two minors, ages 16 and 17, from the Philadelphia area, on multiple occasions, to their homes in Cherry Hill, NJ, where both men photographed the juveniles engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Minor 1 was orphaned and had been living in the Philadelphia foster care system when a man approached her and asked asked her if she would like to go to a fancy house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in order to have photographs taken that could be used to launch a modeling career. He eventually took Minor 1 to Gersh’s home, and she brought along her 16 year-old friend, Minor 2, whom she knew from foster care. The defendant plied the minors with alcohol and promises of a modeling career if they would pose for a photo shoot. He enlisted the help of Sidweber, a hobbyist photographer, and both defendants took provocative pictures of the two girls.
In addition to the prison term, Gersh must serve seven years of supervised release, pay a $150,000 fine and a $200 special assessment; Sidweber must serve five years of supervised release, pay a $50,000 fine and a $200 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Cherry Hill, New Jersey Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Morgan.