Federal agents cuffed an Astoria man on Thursday night who allegedly tried to arrange a sexual rendezvous with a 14-year-old boy who turned out to be an undercover officer.
Jason Seto, 41, was picked up at the Five Guys Restaurant at LaGuardia Airport on Sept. 5 on federal charges of attempting to lure a minor to engage in sexual activity. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Seto works as a community school director for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).
QNS further learned that Seto owns a production company which developed the opening number for the Pride Main Event 2019 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during June’s WorldPride celebration. A biography on the website further notes that Seto works for the UFT at P.S. 48 in the South Bronx.
Seto’s LinkedIn profile includes a featured image of him with Mayor Bill de Blasio and others.
According to the charges, Seto first made contact with the undercover NYPD officer, who posed as a 14-year-old boy, on or about Aug. 21 through a dating app. Seto allegedly sent the undercover agent a picture of his face and exposed genitalia, then engaged with him in a 15-minute chat.
After the agent told him he was 14, prosecutors said, Seto allegedly asked if he was free to meet up, then told him to continue the conversation through Telegram, an encrypted chat app.
During the Telegram chat that followed, authorities noted, Seto allegedly expressed a desire to have sexual relations with the purported underage teenager, and requested nude photos of him. Seto is also accused of asking the “teenager” if he wanted to watch child pornography with him.
Federal agents said that Seto repeatedly asked the agent, in conversations on Aug. 23 and 24, to meet up with him for an encounter. On Sept. 5, Seto allegedly agreed to meet with the purported teen at 6 p.m. that evening at the Five Guys in LaGuardia Airport.
At about 5:50 p.m. on Sept. 5, law enforcement agents observed Seto leave his Astoria residence; he arrived at LaGuardia Airport at about 6:07 p.m., then messaged the purported teen asking where he was. When the agent replied that he was in the bathroom, Seto was spotted heading to one of the bathrooms.
Moments later, the agent texted Seto that he was at the Five Guys restaurant. Seto was taken into custody moments after walking into the eatery.
During questioning, the criminal complaint noted, Seto allegedly admitted that he was the individual talking with someone who said he was 14 years old, and consented to a search of his phone for the explicit chats.
In a statement to WABC-TV, the city’s Department of Education noted that Seto “was immediately suspended by the UFT from his role when we were made aware of these deeply disturbing allegations. He is not a DOE employee and will remain suspended pending the outcome of this case.”