MAYS LANDING — Calling him the type of person Megan's Law was created for, a judge sentenced a Margate man to 13 years in prison Friday for exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl on her way to school in Linwood and pulling down her skirt as she ran.
Paul Campo, 39, pleaded guilty last year to second-degree sexual assault and luring.
The girl — whose name was being withheld due to the nature of the charges — was riding her bike to Seaview Avenue School on April 30, 2010, when Campo parked his car and started following her.
He got her behind a home on Forrest Drive, where he exposed his genitals, fondled himself with both hands and asked, "Have you ever seen one of these before?"
The girl told police he then pulled down her skirt and chased after her. She was able to get back on her bike and ride to school, where she reported what happened.
Through his attorney, Eric Lubin, Campo denied he pulled down the girl's skirt or chased her, but Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor likened that to "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic."
"What you did to that 10-year-old child on that occasion was reprehensible," Connor said.
Campo had three previous convictions in Florida, including one case in which he exposed himself to a 12-year-old girl as he sat in his car. He received only probation for his other crimes.
He was set to go to trial on the Linwood charges in September, when he pleaded guilty.
Under the plea agreement, he was sentenced to seven years on the assault charge, and must serve at least 85 percent of that. A six-year term for the luring has no minimum but must be served consecutively.
He also must turn over his car to the state and repay the cost for flying in witnesses from Florida for the trial that didn't happen.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Pam D'Arcy pointed out to the judge that the girl was in court Friday.
"The victim herself was brave enough to come here and face her assailant," D'Arcy said.
The girl sat next to her grandmother in the audience and watched silently as her mother spoke of the impact the attack had on the girl and her family. She said if it weren't for her daughter's bravery and ability to "run for her life" from Campo, "Who knows how this could have ended."
"Paul Campo had adult intentions on his mind and exposed them to my daughter," the mother said. "He is no stranger to this behavior, and no amount of time will be enough to guarantee he won't do this to another child."
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