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News

PA Undercover Sting: Ex-NJ Sheriff's Deputy Admits Seeking Sex With 14-Year-Old

Josh Padilla
Josh Padilla Photo Credit: PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE

A former sheriff’s deputy from New Jersey admitted trying to have sex with what he thought was a 14-year-old Pennsylvania child who turned out to be an undercover detective, authorities said.

Joshua Padilla, who lives at the Jersey Shore, sent photos of his genitals, then asked for similar photos in exchange from what he thought was an underage child, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

Padilla, 35, of Eatontown,  told a state judge on Monday that he tried to have sex with the purported youngster.

He was arrested by state authorities, instead, with assistance from the Monmouth County, NJ Prosecutor’s Office and Pennsylvania State Police in February 2019, Shapiro said.

The former Middlesex County, NJ sheriff’s deputy was later extradited to Pennsylvania.

Rather than go to trial, Padilla accepted a plea deal secured by Deputy Attorney General Michelle Laucella, Shapiro said.

He still faces federal charges of producing and distributing child pornography through video that a grand jury said Padilla recorded while having sex with a 17-year-old girl in Northampton County.

He’d met the girl on adultfriendfinder.com and was soon outed by a tipster, authorities said at the time.

“Padilla’s crimes betray the hard work of the men and women in law enforcement, and undermine the trust placed in him by his community,” the attorney general said. “Enforcing the law does not put you above the law.”

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