Posted by boston.com January 28, 2014 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Middlesex District Attorney:
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today that Justin Koser, 31, of Somerville, pleaded guilty to charges of enticement of a child under 16 (two counts) and attempted rape of a child.
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman sentenced the defendant to two and half years in the House of Correction with five years probation to be served after his jail sentence with the following conditions: must register as a sex offender, GPS monitoring, have no contact with victim, have no unsupervised contact with children under 16, and submit to searches of his computer by probation.
“The defendant lied about his age and identity online and knowingly approached a 15-year-old girl seeking to engage in sexual conduct,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Thankfully this victim told her parents and police were able to step in to protect the victim. The unfortunate reality is that anyone can hide their identity online and predators are very good at deceiving their victims.
As District Attorney, I am committed to educating our teens on these issues and working with parents to keep communication open so that no child is victimized by someone they engage with online. On Friday, I was addressing these important issues with middle school students in Waltham as we continue to spread this message to our students.”
In addition to speaking in Waltham last week, District Attorney Ryan also spoke about cyber safety to more than 1,000 students in Arlington, as part of the “Navigating the Cyber World” program run by the district attorney.
According to authorities, the defendant began communicating online September 12, 2012 with the victim through instant messaging. The victim identified herself as 15, while the defendant claimed to be a 17-year-old high school senior from Andover and his instant messenger profile photo appeared to be that of a teenage boy. It was not a photo of the defendant.
The conversation then moved onto telephone texts and the defendant began to make sexual remarks. He told the victim he was older than 17. On September 24, 2012, Reading Police were notified of the sexual nature of the communications and the juvenile and her parents allowed police to access her chat conversations. Police obtained records that the account and computer being used to communicate with the victim was assigned to the defendant’s Somerville home.
The defendant continued to text the victim and suggested an in-person meeting, offering to pick the victim at her home or to meet her in a secluded location. The defendant continued to discuss the sexual nature of his intentions with the victim through text messages.
On October 6, 2012, the defendant confirmed he would meet the victim in a wooded area after dark and went to the location around 6:30 p.m. He was arrested at the scene by Reading Police and among the items seized from him were his Iphone, from which he had been texting.
"Thanks to the collaboration between the Reading Police Detective Division, the NEMLEC Cyber Crime Unit and the Middlesex District Attorneys Office, this defendant was caught and taken off of the street,” said Sgt. Detective Mark Segalla, Criminal Division Commander of Reading Police. “We are all committed to the common goal of keeping our children safe.”
The case was investigated by Reading Police. The case was prosecuted by General Counsel David Solet. The Victim Witness Advocate was Rani Scott.
This school year, District Attorney Ryan and Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, Inc. have launched “Navigating the Cyber World,” an Internet safety presentation for middle school and high school students in Middlesex County. The MDAO and MPY also host programs geared toward parents and school officials to help keep children safe online. In addition, a helpful brochure, Technology Tips for Parents, is available online and in many schools.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office also provides the following safety tips:
Online Safety Tips for students:
Do not share personal information on social media sites, including your address, birthday or phone number
Never share your passwords
Do not post or send nude or semi nude photos
Never arrange to meet someone you met online
Do not click on links or download files from someone you do not know
Online Safety Tips for parents:
Talk to your children about their use of the Internet and social media to set guideline and determine what is appropriate use
Make Internet use a family activity by keeping computers and iPads in a central location in the home
Keep cell phone and chargers out of child’s bedroom at night to discourage late-night texting
Remind your children that people they talk to online are strangers and may not be who they claim to be
Let your child know it is OK to come to you if he or she is uncomfortable with something that took place on the Internet
Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 towns and cities and 26 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office prosecutes more than 35,000 cases a year in nineteen superior, district and juvenile courts and has offices throughout the county, including in Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Newton, Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.