Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Middlesex County man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to lure a 14-year-old boy he met through social media to a park for a sexual encounter. The “boy” in reality was an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police.
According to authorities, Harold Gordner, 40, of Highland Park, was arrested Friday, May 18, in Sayreville, by members of the New Jersey State Police on charges of second-degree attempted luring of a child and third-degree providing obscene materials/films to a minor. Gordner is being held in the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing. His detention hearing is scheduled for this Friday, May 25, before Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas.
Officials said approximately a month ago, an undercover detective from the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit encountered Gordner on social media. It is alleged that Gordner, who believed the undercover detective was a 14-year-old boy, engaged in sexually explicit chats with the “boy” and sent the “boy” photos of himself masturbating, as well as links to pornographic videos from a pornography website. Gordner allegedly asked several times whether he could send a car service to pick up the “boy” and bring him to Gordner’s residence to engage in sexual activity. Ultimately Gordner allegedly arranged to meet the “boy” at John F. Kennedy Park in Sayreville on the afternoon of May 18 for a sexual encounter. Gordner was arrested by members of the State Police DTIU when he arrived at the park.
“The allegations in this case highlight the need for constant vigilance on the part of law enforcement and parents to guard children on social media, because the child predators who used to lurk around playgrounds, schoolyards and shopping malls are now also lurking on the internet,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, and our partners on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force are working tirelessly to protect children through these proactive investigations.”
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The complaint filed against Gordner is merely an accusation and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.
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.