April 10, 2008
Copyright © 2008
Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.
Internet predator arrest helps persuade legislature to hire specialist
KINGSTON – A New Jersey man is in custody after being nabbed in a sting orchestrated by the Ulster County Sheriff Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit.
Aung E. Aung, 42, of West Orange, NJ, is charged with three counts of disseminating indecent material to a minor.
The felony charges stem from a month-long investigation by the ICAC. Aung had engaged in numerous conversations with an undercover deputy, posing as a 14-year-old female. Aung initiated several communications of a sexual nature, and sent three photographs of himself performing a sexual act.
On April 4, Aung said he would like to make a trip to Kingston to met with the girl for the purpose of seeing a movie and getting a motel room.
Members of the ICAC, New York State Police, Ulster Police Department and URGENT set up surveillance, picking up Aung’s vehicle, following him, and making the arrest. Police in New Jersey subsequently searched his residence, seizing a laptop, cell phone and other evidence.
Aung is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said this is the latest success in the county ICAC’s short existence.
“We only started our task force back in February, or signed on to the task force and started our specific unit, back in the end of February, and here we already have made three felony arrests.”
Now, the ICAC will have a dedicated specialist to conduct these investigations.
A full-time position will be created to perform Internet work to include investigating child predators in order to help prevent Internet crimes against children.
Van Blarcum said Melissa Potolsky, 24, the specific candidate for the position, is a law enforcement graduate, who happens to be deaf.
“With her desire to be involved in criminal justice; her degree in criminal justice, the county has a great opportunity to help her out. At the same time, she has a great opportunity to help us out.”
The county legislature unanimously approved the hiring. That came despite another resolution imposing a temporary hiring freeze. Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Frank Dart noted because this position involves public safety, it is exempt from the freeze.
The state will cover all of her $25,000 salary for the first eight weeks, with incremental reductions over the next 16 weeks. After 20 weeks, the county will assume her full salary.
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