NJ child predator sting: Cop, priest among 16 arrested for trying to lure children for sex

North Jersey Record

April 24, 2019

By Anthony Zurita

A priest and a Ridgewood police officer are among the 16 people accused of luring children for sex.

Through a three-state sting operation, 16 people accused of being sexual predators, including a cop and a priest, were arrested for allegedly trying to lure children for sex through chat apps, announced the state’s Attorney General.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that “Operation Home Alone” had nabbed the alleged child predators from across the region. Half the men accused are from New Jersey, seven are from New York and one from Pennsylvania.

The sting operation spannedone week and was executed by a multi-agency task force that included the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the state police, Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, along with others.

The arrests were made over a five-day period, where one accused man drove over 100 miles to meet a person he thought was a child. Despite the high number of arrests, Grewal acknowledged that many more child sex offenders remain in the area.

“If we extended the investigation, we could catch 16 people a week,” Grewal said.

The alleged predators came from three different states and all walks of life, including from positions of power and trust with families and children. Peter Tuchol Jr., a Ridgewood police officer who was arrested last week was among the accused.

“Our focus was on the protection of our most vulnerable.” said acting Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Calo. “[The accused] had a desire to exploit children.”

Roger Arroyo, 37, a traveling minister from Philadelphia was arrested for attempted criminal sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. Kevin Roth, 26, a high school teacher from Nanuet, N.Y. was charged with second-degree luring for trying to get in contact with a 14-year-old boy.

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