The girl that 40-year-old Joseph Anthony Paone allegedly thought he was exchanging social media and text messages with was actually Kingston police Detective Stephen Gibson, who had assumed the identity while patrolling the Internet for child predators.
According to a criminal complaint, Paone allegedly contacted Gibson’s assumed identity on Tuesday via a social media app, and the two resumed conversation on Thursday, when Paone asked the girl to take a bus and meet him at Kirby Park so they could have sex. When Gibson expressed concern about them “getting caught,” Paone allegedly said not to worry because they would go into the woods.
Paone, who was wearing a backpack with a blanket and two drinks in it, was taken into custody upon his arrival at the park and later admitted under questioning that he went to the park to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex, Gibson said in the complaint.
Paone, of Hill Street, was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Ferris Webby on four felony counts of unlawful contact with a minor and one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility.
Unable to post $175,000 bail, Paone was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 6 in Luzerne County Central Court.
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