March 06, 2007

Feds indict accused child rapist John Monetti

Update: Click for the latest post on John Monetti.
: 3/15/07: A Long Island reader sends us this link to a story by Joe Darrow at The Times of Smithtown. The title is Monetti heads west for trial in cuffs. For now Mr. Monetti is off the streets, perhaps for a long time. Folks won't have tell their kids to avoid him on the street or worry that he might be working at some equestrian event with them.
Update: The Washington County Pilot-Tribune & Enterprise has gone the extra mile and interviewed Washington County Attorney Shurie Graeve. Evidently, Ms. Graeve was the one who asked the feds to review Mr. Monetti's case. Her concern was that Mr. Monetti might have gotten an inappropriately light sentence under Nebraska law. It is a legitimate concern. Quoting the prosecutor from the PT&E story:
"I wanted to insure that he would face a sentence that required incarceration and not probation. My understanding is there is a minimum prison sentence of 15 years (for the federal charges) and that's what we were seeking when we sought their assistance."
Our Nebraska legislature, as well as some of our prosecutors and judges, need to know about this sorry state of affairs. It is a shame on our state that we have to appeal to the feds for the kind of justice the people want for child rapists, molesters and internet predators.
Update: with Video from News 12 Long Island
A feeder reader e-mailed this in along with this message:
"It looks like now maybe someone will do something with this case!"

John Monetti Indicted by the DOJ
Just got this surprising bit of news from NewsDay. John Monetti, the former teacher, school administrator and riding coach from Long Island, N.Y. is facing trial in Blair, Nebraska on charges that he met an underage Blair girl on the internet, and repeatedly traveled to Nebraska to have sex with her. Here is a lengthy quote:
Federal officials Tuesday will seek to extradite a former Long Island elementary school principal to Nebraska on federal charges related to child exploitation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

John H. Monetti, 38, of St. James, the former principal of William Floyd Elementary School and a former member of the board of trustees at The Knox School in Stony Brook, was arrested last spring on charges related to what federal officials called "multiple sexual encounters" with a then 15-year-old Nebraska girl he met on the Internet.

A federal grand jury for the District of Nebraska indicted Monetti on the charges in February and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Federal agents from Immigration of Customs Enforcement located Monetti at his parents' home in St. James either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning and arrested him for extradition.

The complaint against Monetti seeks to have him removed to Nebraska, where he faces federal charges on sexual exploitation of a juvenile, travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile and computer enticement of a minor.

Neither Monetti nor his attorneys could immediately be reached for comment.

Monetti is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge William D. Wall at the U.S. Courthouse, Eastern District of New York, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip.

If convicted, Monetti faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison on the charge of sexual exploitation and a maximum of 30 years for each count, as well as a life term of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count, officials said. The crimes Monetti is charged with allegedly took place between January and May of 2006.
I'm not sure of what to make of this. I do know that there have been several hits show up on my site meter of late from the Department of Justice. The feds seem to want to put him away for a long stretch. Perhaps Monetti thinks he will get to serve in a nice, cushy white-collar federal prison, like you hear about; with tennis courts and horseback riding. Or maybe this means justice will actually be served in this case. If the feds prosecute, we might avoid the vagaries of Nebraska justice in these matters.
Updated: Here is the press release from the The United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York. Excerpt:
Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Joe W. Stecher, United States Attorney for the District of Nebraska, announced the arrest this morning of Suffolk County resident JOHN MONETTI, age 38, a former Long Island school teacher and elementary school principal, on federal charges relating to child exploitation. Footnote MONETTI’s initial appearance is scheduled this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge William D. Wall, at the U.S. Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.

The complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York requests MONETTI’s removal to face an indictment in the District of Nebraska, charging MONETTI with Sexual Exploitation of a Juvenile, Travel with Intent to Engage in a Sexual Act with a Juvenile, and Computer Enticement of a Minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251(a) and (e), 2423(b), and 2422(b), respectively. The indictment alleges that, starting in December 2005, MONETTI began communicating over the Internet with a then 15-year-old minor female in Nebraska to persuade her to engage in sexual activity, and that in May 2006, MONETTI traveled from New York to Nebraska, where he engaged in sexual activity with the minor.
Taking this unusual step is United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf, who has successfully prosecuted other such child molestation cases in conjunction with the DOJ's Project Safe Childhood, and Joe W. Stecher, United States Attorney for the District of Nebraska. These charges could conceivably lead to Mr. Monetti spending the rest of his life in prison.
WOWT Omaha TV news has the story, as does AMNY. It seems Monetti will be extradited to face these charges in our Federal Court. This case seems to have caught the right eyes. Five government entitities were involved. According to Stecher, “The indictment was the result of the cooperative efforts of several law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington County Attorney’s Office, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. We appreciate the coordinated response from all agencies that have participated in this investigation.”
Mr. Monetti's home town lawyer, Jerry Garguilo of St. James, New York seemed as surprised by the developments today as the rest of us. From AMNY:
Monetti's attorney, Jerry Garguilo, said the filing of federal charges took his client by surprise, but said he intended to plead not guilty when he is arraigned in Nebraska.

[Editor: Remember, he said he didn't really do anything wrong!]

Garguilo said it was not necessary to have federal agents arrest his client. "He has made every court appearance and there was nothing suggestive of a motive to flee," the attorney said.
No motive to flee? How about to avoid spending the rest of his wretched days in prison? Seems like motive enough to me. With Mr. Monetti's resources, (he posted $250,000 cash against a $2.5 million bond here in Nebraska) a twisted cat can find a happy reception in any of a number of countries. John Mark Karr would still be in Thailand if he'd only had a bigger roll of cash.
Update: Most Recent NewsDay story doesn't make it clear whether Mr. Monetti remains in custody. This from the article sounds like they are hauling him to Nebraska toot sweet, "U.S. Magistrate William Wall denied Gargiulo's request that Monetti be allowed to travel back to Nebraska on his own."

Evidently he was indicted in February by a secret Grand Jury sitting here in Nebraska. The Fremont Tribune notes that only one witness was called to testify before the Grand Jury, Sgt. Jeff Young, Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigator. The jurors returned an indictment the same day Sgt. Young testified. I'm glad our Federal Prosecutors have the time and inclination to enforce these laws. I know they are working overtime on drug cases.
Monetti faces no charges on Long Island: New York Daily News. Long Island's Homepage weighs in with this story. The New York Times buries the indictment.
Update: Click for the latest post on John Monetti.

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