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May 12, 10

NEWS / Madison Borough Police Officer Charged with Exposing Himself Via Webcam to Undercover Detective Posi

TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a Madison Borough police officer was arrested today on charges he exposed himself using a Webcam to an undercover detective he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

According to Director Taylor, James N. Haspel, 49, of Chatham, N.J., was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on his way to work this morning. He was charged by complaint warrant with official misconduct (2nd degree), attempting to endanger the welfare of a child (3rd degree), and attempting to transmit obscene materials to a person under 16 years old (3rd degree). Haspel holds the rank of detective and has been employed by the Madison Borough Police Department for 25 years.

The complaint alleges that between December 2009 and May 2010, Haspel, on more than one occasion, transmitted Webcam videos of himself with his genitals exposed to a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. In fact, the person was an undercover detective. Haspel is charged with official misconduct because he allegedly sent such videos from a hotel in Columbus, Ohio, where he was attending a training conference for the police department, and because he allegedly communicated with the “girl” while on duty at police headquarters using a computer supplied by the borough for official police business.

“This police officer took an oath to uphold the law and protect people,” said Attorney General Dow. “We charge that he betrayed that oath in a shocking manner by exposing himself to someone he believed to be a young girl.”

“This defendant is charged with official misconduct because he allegedly engaged in the illicit computer communications while on official duty and in training as a police officer,” said Director Taylor. “We have no tolerance for government officials who abuse their office and violate the public trust.”

The second-degree official misconduct charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum period of five years of parole ineligibility. Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If convicted of the attempted child endangerment charge, the defendant would be subject to registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

The charges in the criminal complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because indictable offenses are charged, the charges and allegations will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.

Haspel was lodged in the Hunterdon County Jail. Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. in Mercer County signed the warrant and set bail at $75,000.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice. The investigation was conducted and coordinated by Detective Gregory Godish and Detective Michelle Goncalves of the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit, and Deputy Attorney General Kenneth Sharpe of the Division of Criminal Justice Computer Analysis and Technology Unit.




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