ELIZABETH — A Middlesex County man has been indicted on charges he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old Union County resident and also both possessed and produced child pornography involving a second, younger victim, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.
Philip J. Rainone, 58, of South Amboy is charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault, second-, third-, and fourth-degree charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. A Union County grand jury returned the seven-count indictment late Wednesday.
Rainone was arrested on June 19 as the result of an investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit. The investigation revealed that Rainone, a bridge operator for New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, allegedly sexually assaulted the teenage victim in Union County on at least one occasion, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert, who is prosecuting the case.
A computer belonging to Rainone was confiscated as part of the investigation, and from that computer the prosecutor’s office’s High Tech Task Force recovered screenshot images of an unidentified man engaged in multiple graphic sex acts with a female who appears to be approximately 6 years old, Ruppert said. The images are believed to have been downloaded during a May 24 Internet chat session conducted using the website www.omegle.com.
An investigation into the identity of the man and the young victim appearing in those images is continuing. Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Alex Lopez at 908-965-3876.
“This case reiterates the need for parents to be vigilant regarding which websites their children visit, and especially those sites that permit contact with anonymous users,” Park said.
Rainone remains lodged in Union County Jail on $500,000 bail. Each of the three second-degree charges he is facing carries a potential penalty of 5 to 10 years in state prison, and if convicted Rainone also would be permanently barred from ever again holding public employment in New Jersey.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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