TRENTON – A Superior Court judge sentenced a former Madison Borough police officer to six years in state prison for soliciting 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.
James N. Haspel, 50, of Chatham, was sentenced to six years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County. Haspel pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 to a criminal accusation charging him with second-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child (attempted distribution of child pornography).
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.
Haspel forfeited his job as a police officer as a result of his guilty plea and will be permanently barred from public employment. He will be subject to registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
“It is shocking that a police officer would communicate online in a sexually explicit way with someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl,” said Dow. “He betrayed his badge as well as any standard of decency.”
“This prison sentence sends a strong deterrent message to online predators,” said Taylor “Sexual predators may attempt to use the anonymity of the Internet to commit crimes, but law enforcement will use that same anonymity to catch them. I commend the specialists in computer crime who handled this case for the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police.”
Deputy Attorney General Kenneth Sharpe prosecuted Haspel for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau and represented the state at the sentencing. The case was investigated by Detectives Gregory Godish and Michelle Goncalves of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, and Deputy Attorney General Sharpe.
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.
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