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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
April 7, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Division of Criminal Justice Obtains Indictment of Monmouth County Man on Charges of Using Internet to Lure a 14 Year-old Juvenile into Sexual Encounter
Undercover Probe By State Investigators Targeted Internet Sexual Predators

Report Suspected Internet Crime to DCJ Hotline at 1-800-396-2310

Trenton - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice has obtained an indictment which charges a Monmouth County man with attempting to engage a 14 year-old juvenile in a sexual encounter and with transmitting lewd acts via the Internet. The 14 year-old juvenile was a State Investigator assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice State - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit (CATU).

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, Peter DiGiovanni, 45, Hoover Road, Neptune, Monmouth County, was charged via a six-count State Grand Jury indictment with attempted endangering the welfare of a child (2nd degree), attempted criminal sexual contact (4th degree), and endangering the welfare of a child (4th degree). Upon any conviction, DiGiovanni faces more than 25 years in state prison and fines exceeding $325,000. DiGiovanni was arrested by State Investigators assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice on May 11, 2004.

The indictment alleges that from April 5 through May 4, 2004, an undercover state investigator communicating on-line as a 14 year-old male entered an Internet chat room devoted to sexually explicit conversations. Within a short period of time, the undercover state investigator was contacted by an individual, subsequently identified as DiGiovanni, who engaged the purported juvenile in sexually explicit conversations. In addition to engaging the purported juvenile (undercover state investigator) in sexually explicit conversations on various dates throughout April, it is alleged that the defendant performed acts of masturbation, transmitting the images via a “live” web camera to the undercover state investigator.

The Division of Criminal Justice investigation determined that DiGiovanni used several on-line names and identities, including “peteedee,” “handsomehammer,” and “mikesingsandplays.” State investigators believe that DiGiovanni may have attempted to contact and/or solicit sexual encounters with other juveniles. The Division of Criminal Justice - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit is seeking additional information related to DiGiovanni’s on-line communications.

The indictment was handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg, the Supervising Judge of the State Grand Jury, on March 28. The defendant will be required to appear in Monmouth County Superior Court for arraignment and bail. An indictment is merely a charge. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation was coordinated by State Investigator Rosario Zito assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit. Additional; investigative assistance was provided by the Monmouth University Police Department and the Neptune Township Police Department.

Criminal Justice Director McKoy noted that the Division of Criminal Justice - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit employs a team of specially-trained state investigators who go on-line to track, investigate, arrest, and prosecute individuals who use technology and computer systems to commit criminal acts in New Jersey. As part of their continuing investigative responsibilities, undercover state investigators patrol various chat rooms where potential sexual predators seek to engage juveniles in conversation with the goal of ultimately luring a targeted juvenile into a sexual encounter.

“Sexual predators using the Internet to target juveniles for sexual encounters is an investigative priority for the Division of Criminal Justice - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit,” said Director McKoy. “The Computer Analysis & Technology Unit encourages parents to carefully monitor on-line conversations and to question children about any improper E-Mails, instant messages, or other communications received via the Internet. Children should never provide personal information such as name, address, phone number and school information to unknown individuals while communicating on-line. If you suspect any improper or suspicious contact by unknown persons communicating via the Internet, call the Division of Criminal Justice - Computer Analysis & Technology Unit “Tip Line” at 1-800-396-2310 or log-on to the Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.njdcj.org.”


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