A takeout food delivery driver from Westchester who was arrested when he showed up at a Bergen County home for sex with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison.
Jacob Smith, 28, used the name “LaidbackJay” to connect on the online app with what turned out to be an undercover detective posing as an underage girl.
Smith ended up becoming one of seven men from New York State taken into custody after travelling to the house being used by local and state authorities in what was known as “Operation Home Alone.”
Before showing up, Smith “expressed interest numerous times in taking the ‘child’s’ virginity” during chats, a criminal complaint says.
He also “sent numerous pictures of his genitalia, including a masturbation video” and described “sex acts he would like to perform on the child,” it says.
“[D]on’t you wanna learn to s*ck and ride this,” he wrote, referring to a photo of his penis.
Smith “also directed the child to insert her finger into her vagina and masturbate.”
He showed up at the undisclosed location used by investigators and was arrested at 9:45 p.m. April 13, 2019.
Rather than face trial, Smith took a deal from prosecutors, pleading guilty last October to second-degree luring.
He was sentenced in Superior Court in Hackensack on Friday to the plea-bargained four-year prison term, lifetime parole supervision and the requirement that he register as a Megan’s Law sex offender.
“Operation Home Alone” was led by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, and New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.
The men arrested ordinarily reached out on various social platforms, including Grindr, Tinder, MeetMe and Adam4Adam. Even though the undercover investigators identified themselves as underage girls or boys, the defendants used sexual language and pressed for meetings to have sex, authorities said.
Altogether, 16 men were arrested in “Operation Home Alone,” which was one of three operations conducted in 2018 and 2019 in Bergen, Ocean and Somerset counties.
Another 21 were arrested in a child porn roundup dubbed “Operation Screen Capture” and 31 more were accused of exploiting children in “Operation 24/7.”
State Deputy Attorney General Danielle Counts prosecuted Smith.
“The COVID emergency led to a sharp increase in reported online threats to children,” Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said. “This prison sentence sends a strong message that we will aggressively prosecute child predators.”
The attorney general also urged parents to “do their part by talking to their children about the dangers posed by predators on social media.”
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