Real Stories Project

05/03/10: Man, 19, assaults girl, 13

Sex assault on 13-year-old-alleged.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A community that recently worked to shed light on sexting (the sharing of sexual content on cell phones often by kids) got another awakening to Internet dangers with recent allegations of sexual assault upon a 13-year-old local girl.

Police Chief Bernard Lombardo used a recent arrest for alleged sexual assault to punctuate warnings to parents that they should monitor Internet use via the computer or any number of hand-held devices that make connections to the world convenient.

He reports that Saheed Rozier, 19, of Teaneck was charged on Feb. 22 with two counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a minor. Detectives Sgt. Paul Rothlauf and James Rapp investigated after a non-family member tipped them off to a potential crime taking place. They then charged Rozier with sexual assault since the girl is 13 and the age of consent is 16.

Starting in January, Lombardo said, Rozier met a 13-year-old local girl on Zoosk (a Facebook dating service), befriended her, and subsequently set out to meet her. He said the suspect drove his vehicle from Teaneck to Ringwood, where the crime took place in his car in different secluded areas of the borough.

According to Lombardo, Rozier met this girl through Zoosk, which is an online dating service for those age 18 and older.

She was able to access the Internet and this dating service through iPod Touch, which puts music, games and more in the palm of your hand, according to a product advertisement.

Although sign-on for the dating service makes clear that it is for singles 18 and older, Lombardo said that it would have been up to Rozier, since he is an adult, to make sure that the girl he met was of age.

"It's the adult's responsibility to know," he said.

Rozier was remanded to the Passaic County Jail in default of $200,000 bail. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim and no contact with any child under the age of 16.

Many parents are aware of Internet dangers when it comes to desktop computers, but Chief Lombardo said that some of these other devices, such as the iPod Touch, have capabilities that parents might not realize.

Regardless of whether it's a computer or hand-held device, he said, "You have to monitor your children's communications."

"There's a lot of dangerous people out there, and this is a classic example," he said.