South Jersey Residents Allegedly Prostituted Child Victim in NJ
Police recently arrested two South Jersey residents accused of prostituting a child throughout the region.
The suspects include a 47-year-old man from Bridgeton in Cumberland County NJ and a 31-year-old woman from Brigantine in Atlantic County NJ. They were arrested at the Knights Inn hotel located on Route 30 in Absecon, New Jersey.
According to law enforcement officials, the suspects sold the underage victim for sex at South Jersey hotels and motels.
Authorities learned about the alleged sex crimes in November 2016 and opened an investigation into the suspects. Several law enforcement agencies at federal, state, and local levels worked together on the criminal investigation, including the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Child Exploitation Task Force, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, the NJ Department of Human Services Police Force, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After looking into the allegations against the suspects, police eventually uncovered enough evidence to obtain arrest warrants.
The suspects were subsequently located at the Absecon hotel and placed under arrest. Additionally, members of the Atlantic County Child Exploitation Task Force took the underage victim into custody. At this time, Atlantic County prosecutors are being extremely careful not to reveal any details about the juvenile, including her age or whether she is the child of the two suspects.
Severe Penalties for Sex Crime Charges in Atlantic County, NJ
The suspects have been charged with multiple crimes, including promoting the prostitution of a child, endangering the welfare of a child, and conspiracy. If the suspects are convicted on the most serious criminal charges, they would face severe penalties. For instance, N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1 stipulates that anyone who runs a prostitution ring or assists in the procurement of the services of a prostitute can be charged with a first degree felony. A conviction for first degree promoting the prostitution of a minor could result in a sentence of 10-20 years in New Jersey State Prison.
Additionally, child endangerment can also be classified as a first degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-4, though initial reports indicate that the suspects have been charged with third degree endangering the welfare of a child. It is unclear at this time why the suspects were not charged with a first degree crime for committing “acts of sexual conduct that would impair or debauch the morals of the child.”
If the suspects are indicted on the sex crime charges and then fail to reach a plea deal with Atlantic County prosecutors, they would likely head to trial in Atlantic County Superior Court. In the meantime, the pair is currently being held at the Atlantic County Jail in Mays Landing NJ on separate bail amounts of $250,000. (There is no 10-percent cash option available for posting bail, which means that the suspects would have to come up with the full amounts in order to secure their releases from the correctional institute.)
If you have been arrested for a sex crime in Atlantic County, New Jersey, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Contact a criminal defense lawyer today to schedule a free initial consultation.