EATONTOWN — A Middlesex County Sheriff's officer was arrested Friday at his Monmouth County residence and charged with having unlawful sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl in Pennsylvania.

Joshua Padilla, 33, of Eatontown, picked up a 17-year-old girl at the Belvidere library in Warren County and drove her to Northampton County in Pennsylvania last April or May after finding her on the website AdultFriendFinder.com, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

Padilla, who was aware of her age, recorded their sexual encounter and posted the video to the same site where others viewed and shared the file, according to Shapiro.

After investigators with the Attorney General's Child Predator Section were tipped off about the encounter, an agent posed as the 17-year-old by using her account. The agent said Padilla asked about the teen's 15-year-old friend and whether she could share pictures of her younger friend.

An agent then posed as a 14-year-old girl and made contact with Padilla via social media and text last month. Shapiro said Padilla called himself "daddy" and used sexually explicit language with whom he believed to be an underage girl. Padilla sent pictures of his penis and asked for photos in return and tried to arrange to have oral sex with her, prosecutors said.

Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, assisted by agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police, made the arrest. He is being held at the Monmouth County Jail awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania.

He also was charged with unlawful contact with a minor through obscene materials, dissemination of obscene materials to minors, sexual abuse of children and unlawful use of a communications facility.

“Our office assists and cooperates with other law enforcement agencies, whether they are inside this state or anywhere within the country," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said. "It is the result of these strong partnerships that Joshua Padilla is being returned to Pennsylvania to face prosecution for his crimes."

Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott did not immediately return a message seeking comment about Padilla's status with her office. In an email exchange posted to the New Brunswick Today Facebook page, Scott said Padilla was suspended without pay.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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