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Arrest made for suspect who tried to arrange sexual encounter with underage girl in Burlington County

Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi and Riverton Police Chief John Shaw announced the arrest of a 21-year-old Evesham man for attempting to arrange a sexual encounter with an underage girl he met through a social networking site.

The suspect, age 21, of Evesham, was charged early Thursday morning with one count of Attempted Sexual Assault and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The investigation revealed that in early June the suspect began sending text messages of a sexual nature to a 13-year-old girl he met on Facebook. Law enforcement authorities were alerted approximately two weeks ago after officials from the underage girl’s school became aware of the messages.

Investigators from the Riverton Police Department and Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office began an investigation, then assumed the underage girl’s identity and continued to communicate with the suspect.

The suspect and an investigator engaged in sexually explicit text messaging that resulted in an arrangement to meet at a location in Riverton on Wednesday, June 29 evening to engage in sexual intercourse. The suspect was taken into custody upon arrival at the location and subsequently arrested.

A computer belonging to the suspect was seized yesterday from an apartment in West Chester, Pa. The apartment is used during the school year by the suspect, who is a student at Universal Technical Institute in Exton, Pa.

During a first appearance today in Superior Court in Burlington County, the Hon. Thomas P. Kelly, J.S.C. set bail for the suspect at $50,000 with no 10 percent option.

The investigation was conducted by the Riverton Police Department and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office’s Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit.

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