TRENTON –A Madison Borough police officer pleaded guilty today to a charge that he solicited a nude photo online from a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.
According to Taylor, James N. Haspel, 50, of Chatham, pleaded guilty to a criminal accusation charging him with second-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child (attempted distribution of child pornography) before Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County.
In pleading guilty, Haspel admitted that he engaged in internet communications in which he solicited a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl to send him a nude photo of herself. In reality, the person was an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Haspel be sentenced to seven years in state prison. Haspel will be subject to registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. He must forfeit his job as a police officer and will be permanently barred from public employment. Manahan scheduled Haspel to be sentenced on Oct. 14.
“A police officer’s sworn duty is to protect people, but this officer instead used the internet to prey sexually on a person he believed to be a vulnerable girl,” said Dow. “Prison is the appropriate sentence for such egregious conduct.”
“This case should serve as a deterrent to sexual predators who troll the internet for victims,” said Taylor. “The New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice will remain vigilant to catch and prosecute such predators.”
Haspel admitted that between December 2009 and May 2010, he communicated online with a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, including communications that occurred while on duty at police headquarters using a computer supplied by the borough for official police business.
Haspel admitted that, during the course of these communications, he asked the “girl” to send him a nude photo of herself. Previously, the State Police charged that Haspel, on more than one occasion, transmitted webcam videos of himself with his genitals exposed to the person he believed was a 13-year-old girl.
Haspel, who held the rank of detective and was employed by the Madison Borough Police Department for 25 years, was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on May 11, 2010. He was suspended without pay from his job at the police department on May 12, 2010. Haspel has been free on $75,000 bail.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!