BROOKYLN — A United Federation of Teachers director has been charged with attempting to coerce a minor into sex as part of a sting operation, according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court Friday.
According to a statement by Detective Damon Gergar, who was involved in the sting, 41-year-old Jason Seto contacted him via a dating app that Gergar says people "primarily use to meet up to have sexual contact." Gergar claims Seto sent him a picture of himself that included his face as well as a photo of his genitals.
Gergar says that within 15 minutes of talking to Seto, he told him he was 14 years old. According to Gergar, Seto responded "cool" and kept talking to him, asking Gergar if he liked older men and claiming Seto was his "daddy" and Gergar his "son."
Seto asked to continue the conversation on encrypted chatting app Telegram, because, as Seto allegedly put it, "We have to both delete the convos each time this app is super private and that's why I suggested."
Gergar alleges that he again said that he was 14 years old, with Seto responding "I like young." Seto repeatedly expressed interest in meeting up with Gergar and wanting to engage in intercourse with Gergar.
In their conversations, Seto also spoke about how he wanted to watch child pornography when he met up with the person he apparently believed to be a child. Seto allegedly said he watched pornography with boys "younger" than the 14-year-old Gergar claimed to be, and then sent Gergar four videos during the course of their conversations.
Seto had been using the alias "Carlos Sanchez" in the conversations and when asked if it was his real name, replied "Jason Carlos." Law enforcement eventually determined it was Seto based on the photograph of his face that he'd sent Gergar. He even allegedly offered to fly to meet the fabricated 14-year-old when Gergar claimed he lived in the Dominican Republic.
Eventually, Seto sent Gergar the GPS coordinates of a location less than a half mile from his home address in Astoria. On Sept. 5, Gergar asked if they could meet at the Five Guys restaurant at LaGuardia Airport.
Law enforcement officers observed Seto leave his apartment and head for LaGuardia. Gergar claimed to be in the bathroom and Seto went in. Gergar then said he was at Five Guys, where Seto went and eventually met Gergar along with other law enforcement officers who placed him under arrest.
Seto admitted he was the one talking to an individual who said he was 14 years old after waiving his Miranda rights, and gave Gergar permission to search his phone, where the chats were found, officials said.
"Given the very serious nature of the allegations, Mr. Seto has been suspended without pay," said a spokesperson for the United Federation of Teachers.