TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Maryland man was sentenced to state prison today for attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl for sex. The “girl” in fact was an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police who encountered the defendant on social media.
Romero E. Jimenez, 37, of Hyattsville, Md., was sentenced today to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge John M. Deitch in Union County. Jimenez pleaded guilty on Aug. 5, 2019 to a charge of second-degree luring. He will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Deputy Attorney General Layli Khelafa prosecuted Jimenez and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.
Jimenez was arrested on Feb. 7, 2019 by detectives of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU). A week earlier, Jimenez used a social media app to contact an undercover detective from the DTIU who was posing as an underage girl. Although the undercover detective told Jimenez that she was 13 years old, Jimenez offered to pay the “girl” for sex. He asked for a phone number and continued to communicate with her via text, asking her to send naked photos and ultimately arranging to meet her at a location in Union County that he believed was near her home. Jimenez believed the girl’s parents would be away from home, and he said he would take her back to her residence for sex. When Jimenez arrived at the meet location on Feb. 7, he was arrested by members of the New Jersey State Police.
“We monitor the internet and social media on a daily basis to arrest child predators like Jimenez and protect children,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We cannot do it alone, however, so I urge parents to talk to their children and warn them that these offenders use popular social media apps to manipulate children into dangerous situations.”
“We urge people to contact us if they or their children encounter a suspicious individual on social media who appears to be targeting children in a predatory manner,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We are working diligently with the State Police and our other law enforcement partners to arrest and prosecute predators like Jimenez, but it is critical that we have the support of parents and other members of the public in these efforts.”
“Unlike typical undercover operations that require a great deal of stealth and precision to keep our embedded troopers undetected, we want sex offenders to know we are scouring the internet under assumed identities, and we want them to know that it may very well be a trooper who answers the door instead of the minor they intended on abusing,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to put deviants like Jimenez behind bars, and we will continue to work with schools and parents to educate our children about the dangers of online predators.”
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urged anyone with information about the distribution of child pornography on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
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 & Cyber 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.
Attorney: Jon P. Letendre, Esq., Elizabeth, N.J.
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