Georgia Man Admits Traveling From New York To New Jersey For Illicit Sexual Conduct With Children
TRENTON, N.J. – A Georgia man living in Long Island, N.Y., admitted today he traveled from New York to New Jersey to have sexual contact with a minor, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Richard J. Simone Jr., 23, of Acworth, Ga., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court to Count One of an indictment charging him with traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor. Simone has been in custody since his arrest in September 2013.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Simone admitted that beginning in July 2013, he engaged in numerous graphic communications over the Internet with an individual he believed was the father of a 9-year-old girl. In those communications, Simone discussed having sex with the girl and her minor babysitter. The individual with whom he was corresponding was actually an undercover agent from the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and both of the minors were fictitious. On Sept. 13, 2013, Simone traveled from Long Island to Monmouth County, N.J., for the purpose of having sex with the two minors. Simone was arrested when he arrived at the location where he and the undercover had arranged to meet.
The count to which Simone pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is scheduled for August 6, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees in Newark; the West Long Branch Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Lawrence L. Mihlon, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. 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.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Fabiana Pierre-Louis and Harvey Bartle, attorney in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Trenton Office.
Defense counsel: Guy L. Womack Esq., Houston, Texas