A 28-year-old man from Middlesex County has been charged with criminal sexual conduct after allegedly using the popular social networking site Facebook to connect with teens under the pretense that he was 17. Two girls, both 14, have alleged that the man contacted them on Facebook and attempted to lure them into sexual relations.
Investigators are currently attempting to find out the extent to which the man may have been using Facebook to lure Central Jersey teens into sexual situations, and are seeking any additional alleged victims.
The man has been charged with two counts of second-degree luring, two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, and a single count each of second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.
According to Union County prosecutors, the man allegedly created an alias Facebook and claimed he was 17 years old. He allegedly sent sexually charged messages to the first girl and asked to meet her, but she refused. When she posted that she was headed to a particular store in Springfield, he showed up there.
In the second case, prosecutors claim that the man arranged a meeting with the girl. He picked her up at her house and they went to a hotel, where he supplied her with alcohol and sexually assaulted her.
The parents of the first teen complained to police when they read communications between the man and their daughter, which they had discovered when monitoring her Facebook account.
The man, a resident of Perth Amboy, was arrested on Sept. 23 at his office. He works as a lab technician in the Skillman section of Montgomery.
Bail had been set at $125,000, but with the addition of the second set of allegations it was increased to $175,000. As of Wednesday, he remained in custody at the Union County Jail.
When an adult is accused of criminal sexual conduct against an underage person, it can ignite a storm of media attention. As always, it is essential for citizens to keep in mind that the facts are not yet in. We should avoid making any judgment before prosecutors are made to prove their case, or before the defendant has a chance to respond to the accusations against him.
Source: My Central Jersey, "Perth Amboy man charged in second Facebook luring, sexual assault against teen," Mark Spivey, Sept. 28, 2011