FREEHOLD – A joint operation conducted by members of the Prosecutor’s Office working in conjunction with the FBI has resulted in a Long Branch man being arrested and criminally charged with seeking a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Thursday.       

Samuel H. Christopher, 66, is charged with second-degree Luring, second-degree Attempted Sexual Assault of a Minor, third-degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and fourth-degree Attempted Criminal Sexual Contact with a Minor.

The investigation began earlier this summer, when Christopher engaged in conversations with an undercover officer online, believing the officer to be a 13-year-old girl. Christopher allegedly made it clear that he was interested in meeting with the girl to engage in a sexual encounter. Christopher then made arrangements to meet the girl in Belmar, and he was taken into custody without incident at the time and location of their planned meeting.

Christopher was lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a first appearance that took place yesterday in Monmouth County Superior Court. A detention hearing has been tentatively scheduled to be heard on Monday, August 15.   

“This defendant’s conduct was calculating, manipulative, and disturbingly predatory,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We are relieved that when he arrived at the location of his choosing earlier this week, he was met by officers waiting to take him into custody – not a young girl he sought to victimize.” 

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Joseph Competello. Information regarding Christopher’s legal representation was not immediately available.

Anyone with any information about Christopher’s activities is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Dawn Correia at 800-533-7443.

If convicted of either of the second-degree criminal offenses filed against him, Christopher would face a term of up to 10 years in state prison.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison. Despite the 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.