September 9, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two men were sentenced to state prison today for attempting to lure underage girls they met on social media to meet for sexual encounters. The “girls” in reality were undercover detectives participating in “Operation Open House,” a multi-agency undercover operation in September 2018 led by the Attorney General’s Office that resulted in arrests of 24 men who allegedly were using social media to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.
William Singleton, 25, of Pemberton, N.J., and Charles Schlottfeld, 28, of Bayville, N.J., were each sentenced today to four years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan in Ocean County. Each man pleaded guilty to second-degree luring, Singleton on Feb. 3, 2020, and Schlottfeld, on July 22, 2020. Both men will be required to register as sex offenders under Megan’s Law and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Deputy Attorney General Thomas Huynh prosecuted Singleton and Deputy Attorney General Rachael Weeks prosecuted Schlottfeld for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau.
Both men were arrested in September 2018 during Operation Open House. In each case, an undercover detective with the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force encountered the defendant on social media, and the defendant, believing the undercover detective was a 14-year-old girl, asked the “girl” to meet him for sexual activity. Both Singleton and Schlottfeld discussed in detail the sexual acts they would perform with the underage girl. Singleton was arrested on Sept. 7, 2018, and Schlottfeld was arrested on Sept. 9, 2018. They were arrested when they arrived at the undercover house in Toms River, where dozens of officers and agents participating in Operation Open House were prepared to arrest offenders and process any evidence seized.
“With these prison sentences, we are sending a strong message to predators who think they can freely hunt for vulnerable children online,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will continue to identify and arrest these offenders because there is no higher priority for us than the safety of our children. But at a time when more young people are online as a result of the pandemic, we especially need parents and guardians to do their part by warning children that these dangerous predators use popular social media services, gaming platforms, and chat apps to target unsuspecting victims.”
“We will never cease in our efforts to arrest those who use the internet and social media to sexually exploit children, either by distributing child sexual abuse materials or by grooming children to sexually abuse or assault,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We want predators like Singleton and Schlottfeld to know the child they stalk online may turn out to be a law enforcement officer.”
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants seeking to lure children. They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende urge anyone with information about the distribution of child sexual abuse materials on the internet – or about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children – to please contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
For Singleton: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Marissa K. DeAnna, Ocean County
For Schlottfeld: Alexandra Nieves-Martinez , Esq., Berkeley Township, N.J.