A Jersey City Police Department officer pleaded guilty on September 16 to a charge that he traveled to Atlantic City in order to sexually assault two underage girls, Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced.
“Predators like Wilson will go to great lengths to sexually exploit children, but law enforcement will go farther to bring them to justice,” Bruck said. “Let this sentence serve as a warning to anyone who believes they can exploit or prey on innocent children. We will continue to work with our partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute child predators.”
Stephen T. Wilson, 34, from Bayonne, pleaded guilty on September 16 to an accusation charging him with one count of second-degree attempted aggravated sexual assault before Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr. in Atlantic County.
Wilson had communicated using a chat app with other adults who indicated they would provide him with access to children he could sexually assault. The officer was suspended by the department following his arrest on Feb. 26.
Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Wilson be sentenced to eight years in state prison. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Sentencing for Wilson is scheduled for Oct. 21. Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks represented the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau in the plea proceedings.
Traveling to Atlantic City
Wilson was arrested in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. He was arrested after he traveled to Atlantic City to meet adults who offered him access to underage girls.
Wilson had encountered the other adults through an incest chat group, and they offered him access to two girls, ages 10 and 8, to sexually assault in exchange for $200. He had condoms and more than $500 in cash in his possession when he was arrested.
“This guilty plea reflects our commitment to protect children and bring offenders like Wilson to justice,” said Director Lyndsay Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue partnering with law enforcement at all levels in order to expand our reach and capture those who seek to sexually abuse and exploit children.”
“Child predators like Wilson are not only using more sophisticated technologies, but they are networking with other abusers in order to find their next victim,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The New Jersey State Police and our partners will continue to work together to ensure that child predators and those who assist them are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Investigating cyber crimes
Acting Attorney General Bruck thanked all of those who investigated and prosecuted the case for the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.
Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks prosecuted the case under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, and Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter.
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children. They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.
Acting Attorney General Bruck, Director Ruotolo, and Colonel Callahan urged anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials on the internet, or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children, to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
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