ELIZABETH — A Middlesex County man was arrested over the weekend after “friending” a 14-year-old girl on Facebook and following her to a store in Springfield where he allegedly sexually assaulted her, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced.
“This is another reminder to parents and guardians to monitor their children’s online activities,” said Romankow. “Predators have access like never before to homes and innocent children. Transparency is key when it comes to an online life and parents should have active knowledge of who their children are talking with on the other side of the connection.”
Michael Sebastian, 28, of Perth Amboy allegedly told the victim in online conversations that he was 17 years old, according to the investigation. Authorities allege that he repeatedly sent her sexually charged messages and requested a meeting with the girl. She had refused his advances, said Romankow.
In early September the victim posted on the social networking site that she was going to a specific store in Springfield. As she exited, Sebastian allegedly pulled up to the curb in his car and pressured the victim to enter the vehicle. Investigators believe that he parked a short distance away and assaulted the girl.
The girl’s parents discovered the assault after reading online communications between Sebastian and the victim and notified authorities who immediately launched an investigation, officials said.
Sebastian was arrested on Friday at his office in Skillman and is charged with second degree sexual assault, second degree luring and third degree endangering the welfare of a minor. He is being held in the Union County Jail on a $125,000 bail.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Patricia Guzmano at 1-908-527-4589 or Detective Jim Morton of the Springfield Police Department at 1-973-376-0400
As is the case with all criminal defendants, Sebastian is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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