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Hammonton man held, Atlantic City man released in child luring cases

A Hammonton man arrested after he allegedly tried to meet a 15-year-old boy in Egg Harbor Township for sex will stay in jail.

Raymond Effinger Jr., 53, was ordered held Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Nancy Ridgway.

But the judge released Bruce Cahan, a 77-year-old Atlantic City man whose attorney, Ridgway said, showed some possible “deficiencies” in the state’s case.

Effinger and Cahan were two about two dozen arrests made as a result of two YouTube “predator catchers” who recently brought their work to Atlantic County.

Effinger arrived at the Ramada Inn on July 25 expecting to meet a teen boy for sex, according to the charges. Instead, YouTubers Cameron Decker and Shafiq Blake confronted him with video rolling.

“Dude, you said you were 18,” Effinger says in the video.

But Blake points to their chat logs that have the “teen” — really a decoy — saying that he will soon be 16 years old.

Effinger eventually leaves in his truck with firefighter tags. An investigation by Hammonton police led to his arrest.

“It is alleged Mr. Effinger was on an adult dating site,” defense attorney Joseph Lombardo said during the detention hearing Tuesday.

“Only adults are on that site, which suggests his intent and belief was that he was talking to an adult,” the attorney continued.

But just because there wasn’t really a juvenile this time, “that’s not to say the next time there won’t be,” Assistant Prosecutor Jasmine Ostrow told the judge.

Raymond Effinger Jr. was ordered held Tuesday.

“The trouble with this type of offense is it is conducted in secret with great deal of ability for online contact,” Ridgway said in making her decision to hold Effinger.

The decision was despite the public safety assessment — used to help decide detention under bail reform — showing him at the lowest risk possible and recommending release without conditions.

That same assessment was made for Cahan, who turned 77 while he has been in the county jail.

The allegation there was that Cahan invited the “teen boy” for cocktails, which is a disorderly persons offense, defense attorney Lou Barbone told the judge.

Ostrow, representing the state, pointed to the affidavit that indicated Cahan had asked the boy for nude pictures and sent some of himself.

Barbone said there was no indication in the evidence he was provided that Cahan knew the boy’s alleged age at the time those pictures were requested.

Bruce Cahan was released.

He said that Cahan is a mainstay in the community and has never had any issues with the law in his 77 years, not even a parking ticket.

Barbone also pointed to several character letters, along with doctors’ correspondence indicating health issues.

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