Computer Crime Research Center


Cybersleuthing holds up in test case of pedophile

Date: January 10, 2008
By: John Sullivan

MONROE — Michael Ippoliti had a weakness for talking to young girls on the Internet.

But when e-mails to a 13-year-old girl turned sexual, he found himself a test case for a new kind of Bergen County, N.J., cybersleuthing that serves as a warning to other predators.

That's because the 13-year-old girl Ippoliti arranged to meet for a sexual encounter in 2005 turned out to be a member of Bergen County's new Computer Crimes Unit. The goal of the unit is to pose as children on the Internet to draw out pedophiles before they commit a crime on a real child.

The unit had been responsible for a good number of arrests since its creation more than three years ago. But its effectiveness depended upon whether they could get a jury to convict a suspect for being a child predator, even though the minor never existed. Ippoliti, an accountant who lives in the Town of Monroe, was the first suspect to go to trial rather than plead out, and a jury convicted him on the charge of attempted sexual assault of a minor in October.

According to prosecutors, Ippoliti had initiated contact with undercover agents posing as the 13-year-old in November 2005. The correspondences sometimes turned sexual, and eventually led to a meeting arranged by Ippoliti at a Paramus sporting-goods store.

Ippoliti resisted arrest, nearly running over a detective in the process.

Ippoliti, 44, is sitting in Bergen County Jail awaiting his sentencing, which has been delayed until March 7.

He could face up to 10 years in prison for his crime, as well as lifelong parole and registration as a sex offender.

Attempts to reach Ippoliti's wife and neighbors at his last known Town of Monroe address were unsuccessful.

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