A Carbon County man was sentenced to a county prison term on Monday for using the Internet to sexually proposition and send explicit photos to who he believed was a 13-year-old girl, but was actually an agent for the state attorney general's office.
Carbon Senior Judge Richard W. Webb sentenced Richard J. DeCroce, 51, of 230 Penn Forest Road North, Kunkletown, to serve a total of three to 23 months in prison on 13 criminal counts he previously pleaded guilty to.
DeCroce had pleaded to 13 counts of unlawful contact with a minor involving obscene and other sexual materials and performances. At the time of the plea the commonwealth, represented by Assistant Attorney General Michael Alan Sprow, agreed to drop 12 other similar charges.
DeCroce was arrested by the Child Predator Unit of the attorney office on Oct. 29, 2008.
At the time the attorney general's office said that DeCroce repeatedly expressed a desire to send explicit webcam videos to who he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
In reality, the "girl" was an undercover agent from the Child Predator Unit.
He also allegedly encouraged the girl to "lie about your age" in an attempt to avoid problems with law enforcement. DeCroce allegedly asked the girl to contact him via telephone, telling her, "I have to be sure you're not a guy or cop."
Webb was asked to consider in his sentencing that no actual young girl was ever contacted by the defendant and that all the messages were exchanged with an agent of the attorney general's office.
In addition to the jail term, Webb ordered DeCroce to submit to a sexual offender's evaluation and follow all recommendations, no unsupervised contact with a minor, no unsupervised use of the Internet, follow all provisions of Megan's Law that apply, no possession of pornographic material and supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee.
Webb gave DeCroce credit for three days spent in jail on the charges and made him eligible for the work release program and the re-entry program.
He began the jail term at 9 a.m. today.