A Howell Township police officer in New Jersey was arrested along with 24 other men for using social media to try to arrange meetings with underage boys and girls for sexual activity.
But is was all a police sting setup to catch sexual predators in Toms River, NJ.
NBC 10 reports, Richard Conte, 47, a police sergeant in the Monmouth County town, was among a nurse, firefighter, DPW worker and others who traveled to a meet-up point expecting to find sex with 14-15 year-old boys and girls.
In chats with an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl, Conte claimed he was a 19-year-old male. He said he had sex previously with underage girls and wanted to meet the girl to “get naked.”
Conte showed up to the undercover house expecting to find the victim home alone. Instead, Conte was arrested upon arrival.
Conte had condoms in his pocket when he was arrested. Conte has now been suspended without pay, has surrendered his weapons and is under court-ordered home detention. Conte's salary is $139,006
NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says:
"Parents need to be aware of their children's activities on the internet, and if children appear anxious or evasive when this topic is raised, it may be a red flag. It is critical that parents talk to their children about social media and chat apps to let them know that the people they encounter may not be who they initially seem to be."
The social media chat applications used by the 24 men arrested were: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr, and some arrests involved the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord.