U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
April, 11, 2011
NEW JERSEY SEX OFFENDER ARRESTED IN PROVIDENCE ON CHARGES OF INTERSTATE TRAVEL TO ENGAGE IN SEX WITH A MINOR; DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OVER THE INTERNET
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A New Jersey man with three State of New Jersey convictions for crimes against children, including convictions for child endangerment and aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of thirteen, was arrested in Providence on Friday on charges of interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual acts with a minor, enticement of a minor, and distribution of child pornography in a case initiated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and ICE - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The Postal and ICE agents are assigned to a task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agents operating under the direction of the Rhode Island State Police Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC).
Donald J. Jones, III, 46, of Pemberton, New Jersey, was arrested in Providence as he exited a bus from New York, having traveled from his home in New Jersey to Rhode Island in an alleged scheme to engage in sexual activity with a minor.
Jones made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on Monday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with interstate travel to engage in sex with a minor; using the Internet to solicit a minor to engage in sexual activity and distribution of child pornography over the Internet. U.S District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin ordered Jones detained.
The arrest of Jones was announced by United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha; United States Postal Service Inspector in Charge Robert Bethel; Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge, ICE - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Lieutenant Colonel Raymond S. White, Acting Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha commented, “The allegations underlying Friday’s arrest are a grim reminder that there are individuals who would go to great lengths to victimize those who are the most vulnerable – our children. Parents must of course take the lead in protecting their children, but they should be reassured that this Office, working with our federal, state and local partners, will continue to identify and apprehend those who target children.”
United States Postal Service Inspector in Charge Robert Bethel added, “Because the demand that creates the market for child pornography can only be satisfied by sexually abusing more children, the Postal Inspection Service will remain vigilant focusing on these insidious individuals who dare prey on our children.”
Lieutenant Colonel Raymond S. White, Acting Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, said, “The ICAC Task Force is a fine example of the cooperative efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and their ability to successfully investigate and apprehend a dangerous criminal. The grave threat this suspect posed to young children is clear based upon the elaborate and organized steps he was willing to take in order to plan and carry out his intended crime.”
“This case clearly demonstrates the reach of these individuals in the spread of pornographic poison beyond state lines and into our homes where innocent children are victimized every day,” stated Bruce M. Foucart, Special Agent in Charge, ICE - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “But on a brighter note, it also shows the determination and relentless efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to identify, arrest, and bring those responsible for these heinous crimes to justice.”
According to court documents and information presented in court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Rogers, in late March, 2011, ICAC task force member Postal Inspector Jay Stern initiated an undercover investigation for pedophiles on the Internet, focusing on forums commonly utilized to trade child pornography and chat with others of similar interests. He observed a posting by an individual later identified as Donald Jones, III, which allegedly indicated that he was seeking a very young female whose mother or father would allow him to engage in sex with their child. Inspector Stern, posing as a parent, responded. Over a two week period, Stern regularly communicated with Jones. During that time Jones allegedly transmitted numerous videos containing child pornography to Inspector Stern, and allegedly made arrangements to travel to Rhode Island to allegedly engage in sexual acts with a minor female.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Jones faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison if convicted on charges contained in the criminal complaint.
According to the State of New Jersey sex offender registry, Donald J. Jones, III is a level 2 child sex offender, convicted in 1993 on charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Both offenses were against a female under the age of 13.
The increased attention to fighting protecting children from internet based crimes has led to a record numbers of arrests by the Rhode Island State Police /ICAC Task Force and State and Federal Prosecutions since 2009. Over the past year and a half, Rhode Island State Police/ICAC Task Force arrests have increased over 500%. Nationally, more than 8,600 people have been prosecuted at the federal level since October 2006.
The RI ICAC Task Force and Postal Inspectors were assisted by ICE agents in New Jersey and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The RISP ICAC Task Force is a Department of Justice, grant-funded program administered by the RISP Detective Bureau and comprised of six State Police detectives, detectives from the Providence; West Warwick; Coventry; Warwick; Johnston; and Pawtucket police departments, an agent from ICE - Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and an agent from the United States Postal Inspectors’ Office. The objective of the RISP ICAC is to form strong working relationships among federal, state and local law enforcement in order to effectively and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute online child exploitation and child pornography crimes.