A convicted sex offender is facing felony and misdemeanor charges following an earlier this month, and officials are hoping to speak with anyone who has had contact with him.
Jonathan L. DeLaura, 37, of Jefferson Valley, was allegedly using the Internet to meet underage children through social networking chat rooms, according to reports from the . In a news release dated Feb. 24, Sheriff Donald B. Smith announced that he is "seeking help from the public in locating potential crime victims associated" associated with DeLaura.
Police arrested the defendant Feb. 3 in a business parking lot in the town of Putnam Valley during a sting operation when DeLaura thought he was going to meet a boy to engage in sexual conduct with him, according to officials.
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. He 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. He later posted bail and was released. He is due in court Tuesday.
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.
Police are urging anyone who has had contact with the Internet screen names used by DeLaura in a social networking chat site, or anyone who was victimized by him, 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, police say.
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.
Through search warrants, investigators seized DeLaura’s vehicle, cell phone, electronic and camera equipment and a laptop computer.