By Craig McCarthy, NJ.com
A Middlesex County Sheriff’s officer had sex with a 17-year-old in Lehigh Valley and used social media to try to have sex with a 14-year-old, who turned out to be an undercover cop, Pennsylvania authorities allege.
Joshua Padilla, 33, of Eatontown, was arrested Friday by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Pennsylvania police on felony child porn and sex assault charges, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday.
Padilla, who joined the county agency in July 2015 and had an annual salary of $56,690, has been suspended without pay, according to payroll information obtained through a public records request.
The sheriff’s officer is facing charges that include unlawful contact with a minor and sexual abuse of children – manufacturing, disseminating and possessing child pornography, according to authorities.
Authorities say they were tipped off last month to Padilla’s relationship with the teen in Northampton County, in which he recorded the two in sexual acts last spring and uploaded the videos to adultfriendfinder.com, where they were watched and shared with others. They allegedly met online.
During the investigation, Padilla texted sexually explicit language with a person he believed was a 14-year-old and sent two photos of his genitals, while asking the teen for photos of herself, according to authorities.
Padilla is in jail in New Jersey and awaiting extradition to Northampton County, Pennsylvania. It was unknown if he had obtained legal counsel.