The plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha; Vincent B. Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI; Portsmouth Acting Police Chief Jeffrey Furtado; and Col. Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
According to information presented to the court, it is alleged that on July 24, Mr. Berger traveled from New Jersey to Rhode Island to meet with a minor female he befriended on the internet. He allegedly transported the girl to his residence in Haskell, N.J. with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Responding to an Amber Alert issued in Rhode Island for the young girl, local, state and federal law enforcement in Rhode Island and New Jersey worked collaboratively and located the victim in New Jersey. FBI agents from Newark, assisted by local and state law enforcement officers, recovered the victim shortly after midnight at Mr. Berger’s residence.
Mr. Berger was detained in New Jersey on a federal criminal complaint issued in Rhode Island on a charge of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. He was transported to Rhode Island on July 29 by the United States Marshals Service and was ordered detained following an initial appearance on July 30 in U.S. District Court in Providence.
If convicted, Mr. Berger faces statutory penalties of 10 years to life in federal prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
The case is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys Stephen G. Dambruch and Milind M. Shah.
Portsmouth Police, Rhode Island State Police and FBI agents from Providence and Newark, N.J., were assisted by the New Jersey State Police and officers from the Ringwood, Wanaque, Paterson and Clifton, N.J. police departments.