FREEHOLD, NJ — A former Lake Como man has been indicted on charges of sending sexually explicit text messages to an undercover police officer who he believed to be an 11-year old girl, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
A Monmouth County grand jury returned the six-count indictment today, June 4 on Michael Camacho, 55, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
Camacho will be on trial on one count of second-degree luring, two counts of second-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third-degree attempted obscenity to a minor, the prosecutor’s office said.
During an investigation by the Ocean Township Police Department and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Camacho was found living in New Bedford, Mass., where authorities were alerted. He was arrested and charged on March 14 there before he waived extradition and was returned to New Jersey.
After an April 11 detention hearing, Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon in Freehold ordered that Camacho remain detained at Monmouth County Correctional Institution, pending his trial.
The investigation began in Ocean Township when Camacho contacted the female child on her cell phone. At that point, undercover detective with the Ocean Township Police Department took control of the child’s phone and began communicating with Camacho posing as the child, the prosecutor’s office said.
During text message conversations with the undercover detective that spanned weeks, Camacho discussed engaging in sexual activity with the child, sent obscene photographs of himself to the child, requested that the child send him photographs of herself, and discussed meeting up with the child, according to investigators.
Camacho faces a sentence of five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison and is subject to the provisions of Megan’s Law and parole supervision for life upon his release if convicted of any of the second-degree charges. He also faces a sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey state prison on the third-degree charges. A conviction of any of the third-degree attempted endangering charges would also invoke the provisions of Megan’s Law and parole supervision for life.
New Jersey authorities were assisted in their investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General, Enterprise, Major and Cyber Crime Division and New Bedford Police Department, the prosecutor said.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state law.
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