FREEHOLDA Hazlet man is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child after exchanging multiple sexually explicit messages with a young boy, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Joseph Palermo, 25, an Volunteer Assistant Scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America, is charged with third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child following a joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Middletown Township Police Department.

If convicted of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Palermo faces a sentence of three to five years in prison.

Palermo was released after his first appearance before Monmouth County Presiding Municipal Court Judge James M. Newman on Friday December 15. The conditions of his release include no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, no contact with the victim and a requirement to report to pretrial services in person once every other week and telephonically every other week.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032 or Detective Darrin Simon of the Middletown Police Department at 732-615-2100. Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fichter, Director of the Special Victims Bureau.

Palermo is represented by Ryan Clark, Esq. of Freehold

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