Acworth man arrested in NJ for trying to arrange sex with a minor

An Acworth man living in New York has been charged with traveling across state lines for the purpose of having sex with a minor and for distributing child pornography.

Beginning in July, Richard J. Simone Jr., 23, of Acworth thought he was communicating with a woman he met online about having sex with her 9-year-old daughter and her underage babysitter. Instead, he was dealing with an undercover federal agent who was posing as the woman, U.S. Department of Justice officials said.

Over the next three months, Simone and the agent had numerous graphic online discussions regarding Simone’s desire to have sex with the child and the babysitter, authorities said.

In August, Simone sent nine images of child pornography to the agent, and in September he traveled from Long Island, where he was living, to Monmouth County, N.J., with the intent of having sex with the fictitious daughter and babysitter, authorities said.

Simone was arrested at the Monmouth County restaurant where he and the agent had planned to meet, authorities said.

The case was investigated as part of a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child exploitation and abuse.

The charges carry a penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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