TRENTON, NJ - Harold Gordner, 42 of Highland Park was sentenced to five years in state prison for attempting to lure a 14-year-old boy he met through social media to a park for a sexual encounter, announced Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. The “boy” in reality was an undercover detective of the New Jersey State Police, he said.

He pleaded guilty on Sept. 19, 2019 to charges of attempted impairing or debauching the morals of a child and violating the conditions of his community supervision for life, stated the attorney general's office. Gordner has two prior convictions for molesting children in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it stated.

According to the press release, Gordner was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on May 18, 2018 in Sayreville, N.J. About one month earlier, an undercover detective from the State Police DTIU encountered Gordner on social media. Gordner, who believed that the undercover detective was a 14-year-old boy, engaged in sexually explicit chats with the “boy” and sent sexually explicit photos of himself, as well as links to pornographic videos from a pornography website, said authorities. The release said that Gordner asked several times whether he could send a car service to pick up the “boy” to bring him to his residence in Highland Park to engage in sexual activity. Ultimately, Gordner arranged to meet the “boy” at John F. Kennedy Park in Sayreville on the afternoon of May 18, 2018 for a sexual encounter. Gordner was arrested by members of the State Police DTIU when he arrived at the location.

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“This case highlights the need for constant vigilance on the part of law enforcement and parents to protect children from sexual predators who use social media to target young victims,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I commend our detectives and attorneys in the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice who put this child predator behind bars where he belongs.”

“Given his prior convictions for sexual abuse of children, it is clear that Gordner would have continued to seek underage victims on social media if the State Police had not uncovered his predatory conduct and arrested him,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The Division of Criminal Justice will continue to work tirelessly with the State Police and all of our partners on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to protect children.”

“Our commitment to keeping New Jersey’s children safe is unwavering, whether it’s online, on the road, or at the playground, but the best line of defense against predators like Gordner starts with education both at home and in school,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I commend our detectives in the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit and our partners for securing this substantial prison sentence against a repeat sex offender.”

 He was already registered as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and remains subject to community supervision for life.