Hammonton man charged with statutory sexual assault
NORRISTOWN, PA. - A South Jersey man who expected to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex was greeted instead by police officers in a suburban Philadelphia town, authorities say.
Joseph Picchi, 49, was one of three men charged after investigators posed as young girls during separate text exchanges with the suspects, said the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The men allegedly shared sexually explicit photos as part of “extensive online and text communications” with undercover officers, according to the Montgomery County office.
A federal grand jury indicted Picchi Thursday on a charge of using an “interstate facility,” his cellphone, in an attempt to entice a minor to have sex.
The Hammonton man was taken into custody on Jan. 25 when he traveled to Conshohocken, where he expected to meet the girl.
A Philadelphia man, 28-year-old Donovan Early, was arrested Jan. 17 when he also went to a meeting place in Conshohocken, accordng to the District Attorney's Office
Both men were charged by Montgomery County officials with statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors and other offenses. They are being held at Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
A third suspect — Jonathan Uitto, 30, of Conshohocken — did not attempt to meet the girl, authorities said. Charges against him include discussing explicit sexual material with a minor.
Picchi’s indictment came one day after Camden County authorities announced the arrest of a Pennsylvania man on similar charges.
In that case, Charles Amer, a 46-year-old EMT from Warminster, allegedly traveled to Pennsauken, where he expected to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Amer also had been exchanging explicit texts with undercover investigators, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.
He is accused of attempted sexual assault and other offenses.
Jim Walsh: @jwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; firstname.lastname@example.org