TRENTON – A man living in Long Island, N.Y., was charged Monday with traveling to New Jersey for the purpose of having sexual contact with a 9-year-old girl and with distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
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 made his initial court appearance on Sept. 16 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman and was detained pending a bail hearing on Friday, Sept. 20.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Trenton federal court:
Beginning in July, an undercover special agent of Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security, began communicating via the internet with Simone. Over the course of July, August, and September, Simone and the undercover agent allegedly engaged in numerous, graphic communications over the internet 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 allegedly sent nine images of child pornography to the undercover agent.
On Sept. 13, Simone allegedly traveled from Long Island, where he was living, to Monmouth County for the purpose of having sex with the undercover agent’s fictitious daughter and babysitter. Simone was arrested upon his arrival at the location in Monmouth County where he and the undercover agent had arranged to meet.
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. 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.
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 of Police Lawrence L. Mihlon, for the investigation leading to today’s complaint. He also thanked HSI New York; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, for their assistance with the investigation.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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