An Indiana man drove more than 10 hours to Mahwah to have sexual relations with a 15-year-old township girl he met on a "Roulette-style" chat site, Police Chief Jim Batelli said Wednesday afternoon.
Joshua Elkins, 28, of Fort Wayne, is currently in an Indiana state prison after being charged with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, Batelli said. Elkins was arrested on Tuesday.
According to police, Elkins started talking to the minor last year on “Omegle,” an online chat site where users anonymously talk to strangers in one-on-one text or video chats. From there, the two exchanged phone numbers and started communicating via phone, police said.
In December, Elkins allegedly arranged a meeting and drove the 10 hours from Indiana to Mahwah, and sexually assaulted the girl in both her Mahwah home and in a Paramus hotel, Batelli said.
One of Elkins’s acquaintances tipped off Mahwah Police to the incident in an anonymous email on Jan. 24.
Mahwah juvenile detective Guido Businelli led an investigation into the incident that involved the Paramus Police, and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes Unit.
Elkins, who has at least one prior conviction for sexual misconduct with a minor, was arrested in Indiana, Batelli said.
According to police, the investigation into forensic evidence is ongoing, and additional charges are pending.
Batelli said chat sites like Omegle are “especially concerning to law enforcement because of the anonymity, difficulty in tracking users, and the propensity of sexual offenders who utilize them.”
He added, “this incident should encourage all parents to have open and frank dialogue with their children about the use of the internet and also the potential danger of [anonymous] chat rooms.”