The West Long Branch Police assisted in an investigation by the United States Attorney District of New Jersey that led to the arrest of an alleged child predator.
A Georgia man living in Long Island was charged on Sept. 16 with traveling from New York to New Jersey for the purpose of having sexual contact with a minor and with distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said in a release.
Richard J. Simone Jr., 23, of Acworth, Ga., is charged by complaint with one count of traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography.
Simone appeared in court on Monday and was was detained pending a bail hearing on Sept. 20.
Beginning in July, an undercover special agent of Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security, began communicating via the internet with Simone, according to the release.
During a 3-month span Simone and the undercover agent engaged had internet conversations regarding Simone having sex with the undercover agent’s fictitious 9-year-old daughter and fictitious minor babysitter. During an online conversation in August, Simone sent nine images of child pornography to the undercover agent, according to the release.
On Sept. 13 Simone traveled from Long Island to Monmouth County for the purpose of having sex with the undercover agent’s fictitious daughter and babysitter and was arrested.
The charge of traveling with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the release. The charge of distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years, a maximum penalty of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees in Newark, and the West Long Branch Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief Lawrence L. Mihlon, for the aiding in the investigation.