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A Forest Hills man and a Bayside man were arrested last week on charges of engaging in sexually explicit online communications with undercover detectives who posed as young girls in chatrooms, the Queens district attorney said.
In another case, Suffolk County police arrested a Middle Village man for allegedly attempting to meet with a detective they said he thought was a teenage girl. The police said he intended to take her back to his apartment to engage in sex.
The defendants used Internet chatrooms to prey upon victims whom they believed were young girls but who were actually undercover investigators, DA Richard Brown said. These cases, once again, underscore the critical need of parents to closely monitor and supervise the use of the Internet by their children in order to protect them from sexual predators.
William Burgess, 42, of 99-45 67th Rd. in Forest Hills and Luis Alonzo, 52, of 212-03 50th Ave. in Bayside were both charged with attempting to disseminate indecent material to minors and attempting to endanger the welfare of a child, Brown said.
In addition, Burgess was charged with attempted rape, according to the DA.
Burgess and Alonzo were arrested as the result of a state and federal child pornography sting operation run by the U.S. Secret Service, the Queens DAs office and the police departments in New York City and Xenia, Ohio.
These individuals thought they could victimize young girls on the Internet without being discovered or identified, said New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. However, thanks to the expert undercover work of our detectives and the other members of this multi-agency operation, we have captured them and brought them to justice.
Suffolk County police said Mitchell Kaplan, 51, of 66-67 69th St. in Middle Village was charged with attempting to disseminate indecent material to minors.
According to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens DA, Burgess, a systems analyst, used Yahoo instant messenger to engage in sexually explicit chat with an undercover U.S. Secret Service agent posing as a 12-year-old girl several times between Dec. 26, 2002 and March 7, 2003.
On one occasion, Burgess allegedly videotaped himself engaging in sexual activity using a Web camera, Brown said.
After several months of Internet communication, Burgess set up a meeting for March 7 at a restaurant near Queens Boulevard and 67th Road, the complaint said.
Queens district attorney detectives observed Burgess at the meeting site and arrested him at his home five days later, according to the complaint.
Alonzo, a self-employed accountant, began online conversations with an undercover detective working for the Xenia, Ohio Police Department on Oct. 7, 2002, Brown said. The detective was posing as a 14-year-old girl in a chatroom called I Love Older Men.
Over a period of five months, Alonzo e-mailed to the Xenia detective copies of pornographic Web sites and sexually explicit photographs depicting women in various sexual acts, Brown said.
In March, detectives used a court-authorized search warrant to raid Alonzos apartment and seize three home computers.
Burgess and Alonzo were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court and ordered to return to court on March 27, Brown said. They face up to four years in prison if convicted. Bail for Burgess was set for $100,000, but no bail was set for Alonzo.
According to Suffolk County police, Kaplan, a bartender at Madison Square Garden, arranged to meet with a detective who he thought was a 13-year-old girl after months of online chatting. When he showed up at the proposed meeting site in Suffolk County on March 10, he was arrested by Suffolk County police.
Police subsequently searched Kaplans apartment in Middle Village using a search warrant and seized his home computer.
Kaplan was arraigned in District Court in Central Islip, L.I., released on $10,000 bail and ordered to return to court on April 25. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.
Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by email at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2003 Community Newspaper Group
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