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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 30, 2021

Howell Man Sentenced for Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials

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A Howell Township resident convicted of being in possession of child sexual abuse materials on two separate occasions since 2017 has been sentenced to an extended term of five years to be served at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center at Avenel, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Thursday.

Thomas Vilanova, 50, of Howell, was also sentenced to parole supervision for life under the terms set down yesterday by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, initiated via a tip received through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, resulted in Vilanova first being convicted of third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child via Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material in July 2017.

As a condition of his plea in that case, Vilanova agreed to be subject to remote monitoring of his online activities. In September 2020, a Monmouth County Senior Probation Officer contacted the Howell Township Police Department to report that Vilanova may have downloaded child sexual abuse materials from his desktop computer at home.

Vilanova turned himself in to police in October 2020 and again pleaded guilty in June 2021, this time also admitting to a violation of probation. He became eligible for extended-term sentencing due to his second conviction, and was deemed a repetitive and compulsive offender following an evaluation.

This case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Kristen Anastos. Vilanova was represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

The Monmouth County ICAC Task Force includes members of the following police departments: Bradley Beach, Eatontown, Howell, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Township, Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, Keyport, Keansburg, Belmar, Holmdel, and Red Bank; the Task Force also receives investigative support from the police departments in Long Branch, Colts Neck, Highlands, Hazlet, Howell, Union Beach, Keansburg, Red Bank, West Long Branch, Ocean Township, Freehold Township, and Freehold Borough, as well as the New Jersey State Police (Hamilton Barracks).