CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y., March 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Suffolk County resident John Monetti, 38, a former Long Island school teacher and elementary school principal, was arrested this morning on federal charges relating to child exploitation, announced U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf for the Eastern District of New York and U.S. Attorney Joe W. Stecher for the District of Nebraska. The complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York requests Monetti's removal to face an indictment in the District of Nebraska, charging Monetti with sexual exploitation of a juvenile, travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile, and computer enticement of a minor. The indictment alleges that, starting in December 2005, Monetti began communicating over the Internet with a then 15-year-old minor female in Nebraska to persuade her to engage in sexual activity. According to the indictment, in May 2006, Monetti traveled from New York to Nebraska, where he engaged in sexual activity with the minor. Monetti was arrested in Washington County, Neb., on May 29, 2006, when local sheriff's deputies found Monetti in a rental van along with the 15-year- old minor whom he had met over the Internet. Monetti was charged in state court and released on bail in June 2006. The state charges remain pending. At the time of his arrest in Nebraska, Monetti was employed as a substitute teacher in the Commack School District on Long Island. Monetti previously worked as a principal at the Dickinson Avenue Elementary School in the Northport-East Northport School District on Long Island, and at the William Floyd Elementary School in the William Floyd School District. "Protection of children is of the utmost importance, and child predators should be on notice that we will devote all available resources to bring them to justice," stated U.S. Attorney Mauskopf. U.S. Attorney Mauskopf extended her appreciation to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the participating local law enforcement agencies for their assistance in the case. U.S. Attorney Stecher stated, "The indictment was the result of the cooperative efforts of several law enforcement agencies, including ICE, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Washington County Attorney's Office, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. We appreciate the coordinated response from all agencies that have participated in this investigation." This arrest results from Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative started in February 2006 by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales which is designed to protect children from on-line exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better investigate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/. If convicted of the charges, Monetti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison on the charge of sexual exploitation of a juvenile, a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for each count, a life term of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for each count. Monetti's removal from New York to Nebraska is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen L. Bode of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The Nebraska indictment is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Norris.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice