114th Precinct youth officer guilty in Web child-sex bust

By Nathan Duke

Michael Costello, 39, who lives in Manhattan, pleaded guilty in October to contacting an undercover detective he believed to be a 14-year-old boy via the Internet in March and April 2005 and attempting to meet to have sex, the DA said. Costello was sentenced by Acting Queen Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt to six months in jail and 10 years' probation. He was also ordered to enroll in a sex offender program and was ordered to register as a sex offender upon his release from jail, the DA said.”The defendant, who was sworn to uphold the law, has now been sentenced for breaking it,” Brown said. “The case underscores the crucial importance of Internet surveillance initiatives by law enforcement to protect children from sexual predators and should serve as a warning to parents to closely monitor their children's Internet access and activities.”According to the DA, Costello sent a photograph of himself to the undercover detective via e-mail, inviting him to have sex with him in his car, which he claimed had tinted windows. Costello also requested that the detective, who was assigned to the Computer Crimes Squad division of the NYPD, take an X-rated picture of himself and send it to Costello in an e-mail, Brown said.On April 1, 2005, Costello arranged in an instant messenger conversation to meet the person he believed to be a 14-year-old boy at a Starbucks on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, the DA said. Detectives arrested Costello outside the coffee shop, the DA said. At the time of his arrest, he was carrying lubricant and condoms, the DA said. Costello, who had worked for the NYPD since 1990, was immediately suspended and he resigned in October, the DA said. Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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