A Bordentown man was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 5 for allegedly attempting to lure a 14-year-old boy he met online to a local park for a sexual encounter. According to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri, the 14-year-old child was actually an undercover detective with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).
Joseph Coleman, 54, was taken into custody by members of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. He is charged with second-degree luring of a child and second-degree attempting to engage in an act of sexual penetration with a child. Second degree crimes can carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
This arrest was part of an on-going investigation which began in July, as detectives with the MCPO began an inquiry for individuals attempting to exploit minors online. A detective working in an undercover capacity, posing as a 14-year-old boy, responded to an online ad, prompting more than 100 email exchanges with Coleman. The conversations allegedly contained vivid sexual dialogue and numerous attempts to arrange a meet up.
At around 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Coleman arrived at a park in Robbinsville Township to meet the boy. After a brief conversation, he allegedly walked with the undercover officer to an isolated area of the park to engage in sexual activity. Coleman was subsequently taken into custody without incident by officers at the scene.
“We want offenders to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Onofri said. “We will aggressively pursue and prosecute those predators that attempt to exploit and harm the most innocent of victims.”
Onofri urges anyone with information about suspected improper contact by unknown persons interacting with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to please contact his Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at 609-989-6568 or the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tipline at 888-648-6007.