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Oct 10, 2019

Police Sergeant Indicted after Luring Girl for Sex

14 Arrested in Child Pornography Sweep nj

A Howell police sergeant charged after attempting to lure who he believed to be a minor for sex after meeting the girl online last year was indicted Wednesday, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced.

Richard Conte, 48, of Farmingdale, was indicted on charges of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree luring, enticing a child, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree attempted sexual contact with victim aged 13 to 15, according to Grewal’s statement.

Conte’s arrest was part of an undercover operation which resulted in the arrest of 24 child predators accused of luring underage girls and boys for sex online.

Photo courtesy of New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. Richard Conte

The female Conte was communicating with through social media was an undercover detective who told him she was 15 years old, authorities said. He continued to talk to her and agreed to meet up. When he arrived to see her in Toms River, he was found carrying condoms, according to the statement. He was subsequently arrested.

Since his arrest, Conte’s internet access has been restricted, and he is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with minors. According to a Facebook post by the Howell Township Police Department, he has also since been suspended without pay since last September.

“This accusation is a serious breach of the public’s trust and the integrity of this police department,” the post read. “It is an embarrassment and insult to everyone who honorably wears the Howell patch on our sleeve and the badge upon our chest. His actions are not a reflection of the officers or this department. I can assure you we are all repulsed.”

Conte is expected to appear in court for arraignment in Ocean County. 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 prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Grewal and Division of Criminal Justice Director Veronica 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.