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Child Exploitation

New Jersey sex offender indicted in Rhode Island in child sex case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A New Jersey man with three previous convictions in New Jersey for crimes against children was indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence Wednesday for a variety of federal felony sex crimes. The charges include interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual acts with a minor, enticement of a minor, and distribution of child pornography. The indictment followed a joint investigation involving U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Rhode Island State Police.

Donald J. Jones, III, 46, of Pemberton, New Jersey, was named in a six-count indictment announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. Jones was arrested in Providence last month as he exited a bus from New York after traveling from his home in New Jersey to Rhode Island in an alleged scheme to have sex with a minor.

According to the New Jersey sex offender registry, Jones is a level two child sex offender convicted in 1993 on charges of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a girl under the age of 13.

According to court documents, an undercover investigation of pedophiles on the Internet began in March 2011, focusing on forums commonly used to chat and trade child pornography. An undercover investigator observed a posting by an individual eventually identified as Jones, who allegedly indicated he was seeking a very young female whose mother or father would allow him to engage in sex with their child.

Posing as a parent, the undercover agent began communicating with Jones, who allegedly transmitted numerous videos containing child pornography. Jones allegedly made arrangements to travel to Rhode Island to have sex with a child.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jones remains in custody. If convicted of the charges, he faces possible life in prison.

The Rhode Island State Police (RISP) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force is a Department of Justice grant-funded program with membership that includes special agents from ICE HSI, U.S. Marshal's Office, U.S. Postal Inspector's Office and detectives from the state police and several local police departments.

ICE also conducts investigations as part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.