An investigation by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office has led to the arrest of a man authorities say used Facebook to attempt sexual assault on five teenage girls, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday.
Clifford W. Wares, 40, of Warwick, NY, has been charged with two counts of attempted sexual assault, four counts of luring or enticing a child, seven counts of endangering the welfare of a child, three counts of promoting obscene materials and criminal sexual contact, among others.
Five females between 13 and 15 years old reported that Wares contacted them on Facebook pretending to be one of their friends. Wares hacked their Facebook accounts, copied the girls’ profile photographs, and created fake accounts, the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.
Wares accessed the girls’ cell phone numbers and contacted them, asking them to send him nude photos of themselves. He also tried to have the girls masturbate themselves while he was on the phone with them, the release states.
Wares convinced two of the girls to meet him at a public place where he gave them alcohol and told them he wanted to have sex with them, authorities said. The girls left the area before any sexual activity occurred, the prosecutor’s office said.
A 13-year-old victim of Wares told her father about her communications after Wares refused to stop contacting her. That initiated the investigation, authorities said.
Authorities tracked Wares to a campsite in Smith Clove Park in New York. Wares had a black bag containing a pair of handcuffs, a roll of duct tape, a folding knife, and a pair of latex gloves in a bag at the site, the prosecutor’s office said.
Wares could go to state prison for 60 years on the attempted sexual assault and luring charges alone. He was also charged with criminal coercion, using a juvenile to commit a crime, stalking, and making a terroristic threat.
Superior Court Judge Raymond Reddin set Wares’ bail at $750,000, with no 10 percent option, subsequent to his extradition to New York state.
Wares is scheduled to be arraigned before Superior Court Judge Greta Gooden-Brown Aug. 19.
Assistant Prosecutor Sumana Mitra declined to answer questions until after Wares’ arraignment.