NJ man a serial sex predator who may have assaulted 3 boys, officials claim
BELLEVILLE — A township man who video-records youth sporting events across the state has been charged with raping a 14-year-old boy on several occasions.
State investigators say Ethan Z. Chandler, 42, may also have sexually assaulted at least one other 14-year-old boy and sent nude photos of himself to at least three boys.
Investigators said Friday that they uncovered the alleged crimes after busting him Dec. 1 on a second-degree charge of luring a child after an undercover detective tricked Chandler into thinking he was a 13-year-old boy interested in meeting for sex.
He was arrested again six days later after prosecutors say they found evidence of the rape on his cell phone, computer and other belongings.
Chandler's alleged sexual predilection for young boys was already known to authorities years before this month's charges. In 2014 he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Municipal Court after being caught at a Livingston Mall bathroom kissing a young man who appeared to be a minor. The young man fled, but Chandler reportedly admitted to police that he believed he was a minor.
Chandler's public Facebook account contains almost nothing but numerous photos of him posing with young, sometimes shirtless, teenage boys.
Chandler's attorney, Prosper Bellizia of Belleville, declined to comment on the charges Friday afternoon until he could look over the case.
State Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino in a Friday morning news conference touted Chandler's arrest and announced a free Internet safety program for parents 7 p.m., Dec. 15, at the Hendricks Field Golf Course, 220 Franklin Ave., Belleville.
“The allegations against Chandler reveal a dangerous sexual predator who used social media to satiate his desire for young victims,” Porrino said.
“Social media and mobile apps unfortunately have become favorite tools for sexual predators seeking to lure and victimize children,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig said. “We’re working hard to lock up pedophiles and keep our children safe. We urge anyone with additional information related to Chandler and the type of conduct we allege to contact us immediately.”
Officials said Chandler had a job and hobby that put him in contact with many teenage boys in recreational programs across the state. They urged anyone with information to contact the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Tipline at 888-648-6007.
Prosecutors said the investigation into Chandler began when a State Police detective responded to an ad Chandler posted on Craigslist seeking oral sex with a young man. The detective led Chandler to believe that he was 13 years old and the two chatted over the mobile app Kik.
“Parents need to recognize that a sexual predator could be preying on their children even as they sit next to each other on the sofa, seemingly safe at home,” said State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes.
Earlier this year, state authorities charged 40 men with possession and distribution of child pornography in a sting that arrested suspects in each of the state's 21 counties.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.