iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
A man of Indian-origin has been listed as a child sex offender on Tuesday by Somerset County
Prosecutor Michael Robertson.
Digant R. Patel (46), is among 12 child predators who used social media and chat apps to arrange sex with underage girls and boys were busted in an undercover sting operation by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI, authorities said.
As part of “Operation Spotlight,” undercover officers would go on social media apps and games, pretending to be girls and boys ranging in age from 12 to 14 years old, and wait to be approached, said Robertson.
Robertson said in a press release that after contact was made and “chatting began, the undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls or boys. Despite that information, the defendants engaged the ‘children’ in conversations about sex and made arrangements to meet the ‘children’ for sex”.
The alleged predators ranging in age from 26 to 34 believed they were speaking to “kids” and made plans to meet them in Somerset County for sex, Robertson said.
“The defendants were arrested when they arrived at one of three pre-arranged locations in Somerset County, where they expected to find their victims,” he said.
All of the alleged predators, including three who traveled from New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, came to one of three locations in Somerset County between Oct 15 and 18, where they were arrested.
Among those arrested was Digant R. Patel, 46, of Briarwood Drive East, in Warren, who serves as vice president of a financial institution. Patel was going to meet a 14-year-old, Robertson said.
Social media, while they have their uses, they are also very easy tools for predators make thier move.
Robertson said that parents should monitor their children’s use of social media and gaming apps like Facebook, TikTok, Fortnite and Minecraft because predators may be lurking there.
“Parents need to be especially diligent, even before COVID, but especially now when everything is virtual. Schooling, hanging out — kids are not hanging with one another they are on tablets or devices. They need to be diligent on what and who they are speaking with. The message is, if they don’t know who it is, don’t invite them into their chatroom or Fortnite game,” Robertson said.