Facing morals charges


A 37-year-old man who thought he was sending nude photos of himself via cell phone to a 14-year-old Kearny girl has been arrested on obscenity and child-endangerment charges, police reported.

We say “thought he was” because the actual recipient of the photos was the girl’s mother.

In late September, Kearny police said, they were contacted by the mother, who was concerned about certain activity on her daughter’s phone — specifically conversations via a social media website between the girl and someone identifying himself as “Pete G.”

Police said the mother, pretending to be the teen, began conversing with “Pete G.” and the conversation “turned to talk of where they could meet.”

KPD Capt. Steve Durkin said the man was aware that the girl was underage but wanted to engage in drug activity and sex. The suspect then allegedly sent pictures of himself naked to her phone.

The case was investigated by Det. John Plaugic, who subsequently identified the suspect as Peter Griffo of Carlstadt, police reported.

Griffo was arrested at his home at 6 a.m., Dec. 31, by Plaugic and Det. Mike Gonzalez. He was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, sending obscene material to a minor and soliciting a person under the age of 18.

–Karen Zautyk 

The Observer Staff