A New Jersey man has been arrested for attempted sexual assault and obscenity after he allegedly sent explicit images of himself to a 13-year-old girl.
John A. Denicola Jr., 20, is accused of sending sexually explicit texts and images of himself to a 13-year-old girl in Wildwood before attempting to meet with the teen, reportedly planning to have sex, according to WCAU.
Investigators said that the 13-year-old's mother discovered the explicit texts and alerted authorities.
"I think, more or less, her parents got involved ... what they should have done," said Wildwood Police Detective Sgt. Kenneth Gallagher. "They went right to the police department."
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According to investigators, Denicola made plans to meet with the girl at an intersection in Wildwood. When the man arrived, police were waiting at the scene to take him into custody.
Denicola's neighbor, Nicole Curran, said she was shocked by the incident.
"That’s scary. Especially with Facebook, it is a really scary thing, an easy way to get to people," said Curran.
Denicola was taken to the Cape May County Correctional Facility, where he is reportedly being held in lieu of $75,000 bail, according to the Cape May County Herald. He has also been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim.
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In another case in November 2016, a 73-year-old man in Queens, New York, was arrested for sending sexually explicit text messages to an undercover investigator that he believed was a 13-year-old girl, WPIX reports.
Joel Einhorn was charged with second-degree attempted rape, second-degree attempted criminal sexual act, attempted endangering of a child and first-degree dissemination of indecent material to minors.
Einhorn allegedly chatted with the investigator, who told him multiple times that he was a 13-year-old girl, after the officer responded to a Craigslist ad entitled "Daddy looking for 'real' Queens 'girl' No flakes (M4W)."
The pair set up a meeting after reportedly talking online and over text for a month. When Einhorn arrived at the discussed location, he was arrested. Police said that when they searched the car Einhorn was driving, they found an open bag of sex paraphernalia.
"The defendant is accused of conversing online for a month with a person who he believed to be an underage teen girl," said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
"Unbeknownst to the defendant, he was actually conversing with an undercover police officer," said Brown. "This case illustrates the tenacity of alleged sexual predators and the amount of time they are willing to expend grooming a teen to accomplish their goal of meeting in person an underage child for sexual relations."