TRENTON – The Senate today gave final legislative approval to a bill, sponsored by Senator Paul A. Sarlo, to make it a crime to lure someone over the Internet into committing a crime. It passed without opposition in the Senate.
“When a sick mind can use technology to endanger a young mother playing with her children in their front yard, we need a strong response,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic.
Senator Sarlo crafted the bill, S-1429, after a Wood-Ridge mother was falsely described in an Internet chat room as desiring a stranger to sexually assault her at her house. Fortunately, the woman called police when a stranger drove to her house and leered at her in response to the chat room posting, but police found it difficult to prosecute the author of the false invitation to the woman’s home.
The bill would create a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for the crime of luring an adult to commit a crime. Current state law only punishes those who lure those under the age of 18 to meet for purposes of illegal activity.
“As perverse as it is, we found we need penalties against ‘adult luring,'” Senator Sarlo said. “The bill gives police a tool to prosecute those who encourage adults via electronic or other means to commit a crime even when a crime doesn’t actually take place.”
Senator Sarlo said the proposal also will serve as a deterrent to cyberstalkers and cyberpredators.
“This bill is a no-brainer when you think a potential victim like a mother playing with her kids could become a victim of a horrible crime inspired by someone who is just sitting at home on his computer,” said Senator Sarlo.
The bill passed 39-0 and now goes to the Governor’s office for his consideration.