Professor arrested in Internet sex sting

March 31, 2008 6:36:37 PM PDT
A New Jersey college professor was arrested Monday morning, charged in connection with his alleged interactions with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli announced the arrest of 35-year-old Leonardo Zayas, of 247 5th Street in Jersey City, on charges of attempted sexual assault, luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child and attempted and attempted criminal sexual contact.

Zayas is a professor of computer science at the New Jersey City University.

Authorities say the arrest stemmed from an investigation concerning the following: Leonardo Zayas engaged in conversations via the Internet, specifically chat and instant messaging, with who he believed was a 14-year-old girl. During the course of those conversations, Zayas initiated sexually explicit dialog. Zayas masturbated and transmitted those images via his web camera, and Zayas also instructed who he believed to be a 14-year-old female to masturbate. Additionally, Zayas requested to meet the presumed 14-year-old-girl for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

He was reportedly arrested without incident at the prearranged meeting location.

Prosecutor Molinelli urges anyone whose child spoke with online with screen name "leozayas1972@yahoo" to contact the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Computer Crimes Unit.