A registered sex offender from Burlington County was sentenced to state prison today after he used social media apps to send photos of his genitals and a video of himself masturbating to underage girls and an undercover detective posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Joseph M. Graber III, 52, of Marlton, N.J., was sentenced to 15 years in prison under the Lunsford Act Friday by Superior Court Judge Christopher Garrenger in Burlington County.
Graber will remain a registered sex offender under Megan’s Law, have limited use of the Internet, pay mandatory fines and penalties, forfeit all devices, and will be subject to parole supervision for life.
Graber pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated sexual assault on November 29, 2021.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa Rastelli represented the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau at sentencing under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter and DCJ Deputy Director Derek Nececkas.
“This sentence reflects our commitment to protect children and bring sex offenders like Graber to justice,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “We will continue in our collaborative efforts to patrol the internet and hold those who inflict harm on the most vulnerable members of our society accountable.”
“Cases like this one reveal the lengths sexual predators will go to in order to find vulnerable children to exploit,” said Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “While law enforcement remains vigilant in our collective attempt to protect children, we also urge parents, guardians, educators, and other adults, to talk to the children in their lives about the dangers online and monitor use of the internet by children.”
“The State Parole Board is pleased to have participated in this multi-agency investigation,” said New Jersey State Parole Board Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri, Jr. “Our collaborative participation resulted in the arrest and prosecution of a repeat sex offender whose predatory actions will be properly and lawfully punished. As technological advances encourage criminals to contact children, our Digital Forensic Officers must continue to diligently ramp up efforts to keep pace.”
In February 2018, a detective of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigation Unit (DTIU) monitoring a children’s chatroom received private messages from an individual claiming to be a 16-year-old male.
The detective identified herself as a 13-year-old girl.
The male, later identified as Graber, began asking the “girl” sexually explicit questions and asked if she wanted to see his genitals.
He then sent the detective a photo of his genitals. Detectives linked the screen name to an IP address that was traced to Graber, who was identified as a Tier 2 registered sex offender subject to parole supervision for life under Megan’s Law.
Graber previously pleaded guilty in 2011 to a charge of attempted endangering the welfare of a child for sending a sexually explicit photo to another detective, who in that case was posing as a 12-year-old girl.
After Graber was identified, the State Parole Board was notified of the investigation.
Graber continued for about one month to send sexually explicit communications to the detective, who he believed was a 13-year-old girl, using social media apps. He sent additional photos of himself and his genitals and a video of himself masturbating. He also requested that the “girl” send him “sexy videos” using a video chat app.
When Graber was arrested at his home in June 2018, investigators searched the residence and executed a search warrant at his father’s home in Medford Township, where Graber was staying while communicating with the undercover detective.
Graber was not supposed to be living there due to his restrictions of being a registered sex offender.
Investigators reviewed the contents of devices seized from Graber upon his arrest and discovered evidence that he also had been sending sexually explicit photos and video of himself to actual underage girls.
In addition to investigating cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, members of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, and New Jersey Regional ICAC Task Force routinely conduct undercover chat investigations on social media platforms leading to arrests of hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children.
They also conduct proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child sexual abuse materials.