Authorities File New Charges Against Suspected Online Child Predator

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Michael Sebastian (Photo courtesy of Union County Prosecutor's Office)

UNION COUNTY – Authorities have filed new charges against a Perth Amboy man who was arrested last week for allegedly committing sexual assault against a 14-year-old girl, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas, Jr. announced today.

Michael Sebastian, 28, was charged today with second degree luring, third degree endangering the welfare of a minor and fourth degree criminal sexual contact from stemming from an alleged incident involving another victim, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Cernadas said that Sebastian used the alias “Chris” and claimed he was 17 when he contacted a 14-year-old Union County girl via the Facebook social networking website and convinced her to meet him.

Sebastian allegedly picked up the girl at her house, drove to a motel on Route 22 where he rented a room, supplied the teen with alcohol and sexually assaulted her, according to Cernadas. The victim was able to escape the room and ran across the highway to a restaurant where she called a family member to pick her up, authorities said.

Prosecutor’s Office Detective Patricia Gusmano and Springfield Police Detective Jim Morton discovered the second assault during their investigation of the incident that resulted in the original charges filed against Sebastian, authorities said.

“This commitment to the original victim and the safety of others led to these additional charges,” said Cernadas. “The detectives have been working nonstop to identify potential additional victims and we urge anyone with relative information to contact our office or the Springfield police department.”

The initial arrest and charges from the Sept. 8 assault came after Sebastian allegedly made contact with another teen on Facebook. When she posted that she was going to a specific store in Springfield earlier this month, Sebastian was allegedly waiting for her outside. He pressured her to get into his vehicle and sexually assaulted her, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Sebastian was arrested on Sept. 23 at his office in Skillman section of Montgomery, where he worked as a lab technician.

Following the additional charges this morning Sebastian’s bail was raised to $175,000, according to the prosecutor’s office. He remains in custody at the Union County Jail.

“It is not an invasion of privacy for parents to monitor their children’s online activity, it is a matter of keeping them safe from predators,” said Cernadas. “Situations like these can be avoided if parents are upfront about the dangers of online predators. Set and enforce rules for responsible internet use and make sure your kids know that very real dangers like this exist.”

Authorities are asking anyone with additional information to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Patricia Gusmano 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 in a court of law.

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