A convicted child molester from Middlesex County was sentenced to five years in state prison Friday for trying to lure a 14-year-old “boy” – actually an undercover detective — to a local park for sex.
Harold Gordner, 42, of Highland Park, admitted last September that he had sexually explicit chats and sent naked photos of himself, along with links to porn videos, to what turned out to be a New Jersey State Police investigator trolling social media for predators.
Gordner, who already was registered as a Megan’s Law sex offender, “asked several times whether he could send a car service to pick up the ‘boy’ to bring him to his residence in Highland Park to engage in sexual activity,” state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
“Ultimately, Gordner arranged to meet the ‘boy’ at John F. Kennedy Park in Sayreville on the afternoon of May 18, 2018 for a sexual encounter,” the attorney general said.
Members of the NJSP Digital Technology Investigations Unit arrested Gordner when he showed up.
Gordner, has two prior convictions for molesting children in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in Superior Court in New Brunswick on Sept. 19, 2019 to attempted impairing or debauching the morals of a child and violating the conditions of his lifetime community supervision.
The case “highlights the need for constant vigilance on the part of law enforcement and parents to protect children from sexual predators who use social media to target young victims,” Grewal said.
“Given his prior convictions for sexual abuse of children, it is clear that Gordner would have continued to seek underage victims on social media if the State Police had not uncovered his predatory conduct and arrested him,” said state Division of Criminal Justice Director Veronica Allende.
Keeping children safe is an “unwavering” commitment “whether it’s on the road, or at the playground,” state Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said, “but the best line of defense against predators like Gordner starts with education both at home and in school.”
Deputy Attorney General Danielle P. Counts handled the sentencing by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus for the state Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.
A man caught secretly recording females in bathroom stalls at a Barnes & Noble on Route 3 in Clifton was carrying child porn videos, authorities said.
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children. They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child pornography.
State authorities urged anyone with information about the online distribution of child pornography, suspected improper contact with minors by strangers or other possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tip Line at 888-648-6007.
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