November 1, 2021
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported today that an investigation into online child exploitation has resulted in the arrest of a Hamilton man.
Francis Frobose, 26, of Hamilton, NJ, is charged with second-degree attempted kidnapping, second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child. The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Frobose pending trial. He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell and a detention hearing is scheduled for this week in Mercer County Superior Court before Judge Robert W. Bingham II.
In August 2021, detectives with the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit began an investigation into individuals attempting to use the internet to sexually exploit children. Frobose was identified as a subject and began chatting online with ICAC detectives. More than 100 messages were exchanged between Frobose and detectives. The complaint alleges Frobose described the sexual acts that were to be committed, set up a meet, and showed up to the location to pick up an individual he believed to be a 15-year-old girl and engage in the sexual conduct discussed.
On Thursday afternoon, October 28, 2021, detectives followed Frobose from his Hamilton home to the meet location, where he was taken into custody without incident by officers with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Prosecutor Onofri urged anyone with information about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to please contact his Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at 609-989-6568 or the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tip line at 888-648-6007.
“I want the residents of Mercer County to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Prosecutor Onofri said. “This year alone, the ICAC Task Force has conducted 180 investigations into child pornography, child exploitation and luring minors to engage in illicit sexual activity. Thirty search warrants have been executed and 29 people have been charged, with more than 100,000 child pornography images and videos recovered.”
“We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims,” he continued.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.