A convicted sex offender is accused of sexually molesting an underage boy, Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith said today.
Jonathan L. DeLaura, 37, of Jefferson Valley, was allegedly using the Internet to meet underage children through social networking chat rooms. He would typically pose as a 17-year-old female in order to meet young boys, police said.
DeLaura was convicted in 2009 of sexual misconduct in a case involving a 12-year-old boy.
Police said the man recently met with a minor on a few occasions and engaged in sexual activity with him.
Shortly after midnight on Feb. 3, sheriff’s investigators arrested DeLaura who had parked his car in a business parking lot in the town of Putnam Valley. He thought he was going to meet a boy to engage in sexual conduct with him; but was met by two investigators instead, officials said.
DeLaura was arrested and charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual act, felonies, and four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors.
Police said DeLaura would use the screen names "Sillyrabbit," "Damastrmynd" and "Riddlerboy," to become friends with children and engage them in explicit sexual conversations. He would also request them to send him explicit photographs of themselves and when they did, he would reveal that he was actually a male. He would then attempt to meet them at an arranged location to engage in sex acts with them.
If a recipient declined to meet him or after meeting him, police said, DeLaura would use the sexual conversations and photos to prevent victims from calling police. He warned his victims that if they did, he would expose the photos and sexual conversations to their friends, coaches and other people.
Additionally, police said, DeLaura told his victims that he had already provided their information to others who would expose them if he were not able to.
The defendant was arraigned before Putnam Valley Town Justice Gina Capone and remanded to the Putnam County Correctional Facility in lieu of $75,000 cash bail or $150,000 secured bond. The defendant is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 28.
Through search warrants, investigators seized DeLaura’s vehicle, cell phone, electronic and camera equipment and a laptop computer. Since his car was allegedly used in the commission of felony crimes, it is being held and is subject to asset forfeiture proceedings.
According to New York State records, DeLaura was convicted on Oct. 7, 2009, in Bronx County Supreme Court for sexual misconduct. In that case, he reportedly engaged in sexual conduct with a 12 year-old boy. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and six years probation.
Investigators assigned to the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation are continuing the investigation with assistance from the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office. Investigators said there may be others who have had contact with or been victimized by DeLaura.
Anyone having had contact with the Internet screen names used by DeLaura in a social networking chat site or who were victimized by him are encouraged to call investigators at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (845) 225-8060. All calls will be kept strictly confidential.