A volunteer fire chief from Nutley has been arrested for attempting to have sex with a minor in North Bergen, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.
On Friday, December 16, members of the North Bergen Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, and the Nutley Police Department arrested a Nutley Volunteer Fire Chief after being notified of a luring incident.
Henry Meola, a 33-year-old of Nutley, is charged with one count of second-degree and one count of third-degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
He was arrested at his home in Nutley, transported to the North Bergen Police Department, and is being held at the Hudson County Correctional Facility pending his first court appearance.
The investigation determined Meola arranged to meet an individual, who he believed to be a minor, for sexual activity in North Bergen.
Prosecutor Suarez credited the North Bergen Police Department, the HCPO Special Victims Unit, and the Nutley Police Department with the investigation and arrest.
Anyone wishing to report a sex crime should call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit (SVU) at 201-915-1234.
The above charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Meola was caught admitting his intentions on camera by a sexual predator watchdog group known as OBL Nation. In an Instagram video by the group, Meola is pictured admitting he wanted to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex to member of OBL Nation filming and confronting him.
“I wanted to meet someone to potentially have some form of something sexual,” Meola tells member of OBL Nation in the video posted on December 7.
In the post, OBL Nation said they got word from Nutley detectives that the local prosecutor is going to prosecute Meola. Members of OBL Nation met with police soon after that to provide official statements and more electronic evidence to cooperate with the investigation.
Following the announcement of charges by the Prosecutor against Meola, OBL Nation posted a YouTube video of the encounter on December 17.
Meola has been on the fire force since 2008, becoming the volunteer fire chief in 2020. His LinkedIn also notes that he works for ABC Television and Disney as an electrician as well as light board operator and programmer.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.