Georgia Man Charged With Traveling From New York To New Jersey To Have Sexual Contact With A Minor, Distributing Child Pornography
TRENTON, N.J. – A Georgia man living in Long Island, N.Y., was charged today with traveling from New York to New Jersey for the purpose of having sexual contact with a minor and with distributing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Richard J. Simone Jr., 23, of Acworth, Ga., is charged by complaint with one count of traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of distribution of child pornography. Simone made his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman and was detained pending a bail hearing on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.
According to the criminal Complaint filed today in Trenton federal court:
Beginning in July 2013, an undercover special agent of Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Homeland Security, began communicating via the internet with Simone. Over the course of July, August, and September, Simone and the undercover agent engaged in numerous, graphic communications over the internet regarding Simone having sex with the undercover agent’s fictitious 9-year-old daughter and fictitious minor babysitter. During an online conversation in August 2013, Simone sent nine images of child pornography to the undercover agent. On Sept. 13, 2013, Simone traveled from Long Island, where he was living, to Monmouth County, N.J., for the purpose of having sex with the undercover agent’s fictitious daughter and babysitter. Simone was arrested upon his arrival at the location in Monmouth County where he and the undercover agent had arranged to meet prior to the sexual conduct.
The charge of traveling with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum of five years, a maximum penalty of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited agents of Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees in Newark, and the West Long Branch Borough Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Lawrence L. Mihlon, for the investigation leading to today’s complaint. 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 launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 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 Harvey Bartle, attorney in charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Trenton Office.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Andrea Bergman, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton