A Georgia man who was then living on Long Island admitted in federal court in New Jersey to traveling across state lines in September to have sex with a minor, prosecutors said.
Richard J. Simone Jr., 23, of Acworth, Ga., pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton, N.J., federal court to an indictment charging him with traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor.
Simone has been in custody since his arrest last September, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office for the District of New Jersey.
Simone faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be required to register as a sex offender. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 6.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Simone admitted that beginning in July 2013 he engaged in numerous "graphic communications over the Internet" with an individual he thought was the father of a 9-year-old girl.
In those communications, Simone discussed having sex with the girl and her baby sitter, also a minor.
In reality, the person with whom Simone was corresponding was an undercover agent from the Department of Homeland Security, and both minors were fictitious.
On Sept. 13, 2013, Simone traveled from where he was living in Levittown to Monmouth County, N.J., for the purpose of having sex with the two minors, according to court documents and investigators.
He was arrested when he arrived at the location where he and the undercover agent had arranged to meet.
The case was prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, the news release said.