Ex-Priest, City Sanitation Worker Charged in Nassau Sex Sting

The Northender [Long Island NY]
July 14, 2006

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced this week the separate arrests of two men arrested in an online sex sting known as "Operation Teensaver".

The first arrest was that of Thomas Bender, 71, a former priest and convicted sex offender who allegedly attempted via AOL instant message conversations to initiate a sexual relationship with a detective posing as a 14-year-old boy that he met online.

Bender, who is not a resident of Long Island, reportedly journeyed to Nassau County with the intention of meeting the "boy" at an undisclosed location for sex.

He is being charged with five counts of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, a Class D Felony, and one count of Attempted Criminal Sexual Act, a Misdemeanor.

The case is being handled for the County by Assistant DA Stephen Treglia, Chief of the Cyber Crime Unit and supervisor of Operation Teensaver. Bender is being represented by Legal Aid. He was arraigned on $120,000 cash bail on Wednesday, March 22.

The second arrest, announced by DA Rice the day before, was that of Charles Taranow, 45, of Brooklyn, a City Sanitation Department worker.

Taranow is being charged with three counts of Attempted Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree, a Class E Felony; Criminal Solicitation in the Fourth Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor; and Attempted Patronizing a Prostitute in the Third Degree, a Class B Misdemeanor.

Rice's office alleges that between August 2005 and March 2006, Taranow engaged in sexually explicit discussions, also via AOL's instant messenger service, with detectives posing as 14- and 15-year-old girls.

On March 5, he allegedly participated in a telephone conversation with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old in which he asked her to engage in sex in return for $100.

A search of his home revealed photos of himself that he had sent to the supposed girls and photos detectives had sent to him. His hard drive and disks were seized.

Taranow was arraigned on Wednesday in First District Court in Hempstead and posted $5,000 bail. The case has been adjourned to April 4.

"Cyber-crime is no longer the crime of the future," said DA Rice. "These criminals are threatening our communities today. We must match criminals not only in intensity, but also in sophistication. I applaud the work done by Operation Teensaver and by my investigators."


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