The attorney for a Ship Bottom man accused of driving to Bergen County to have sex with a 6-year-old says his client instead intended to try to talk the girl's mother out of using her child for the sex act.
Bergen County authorities arrested Walter Domanski Jr., 51, on Dec. 3 and charged him with attempted aggravated sexual assault and attempted endangering the welfare of a minor. Officials say he planned with another man over the Internet to travel to Bergen County to have sex with a child.
But attorney Steven E. Savage says the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office has trumped up charges against his client since the girl does not exist.
In a news release e-mailed to The Press of Atlantic City, Savage acknowledges that the second-degree charges against Domanski are very serious, but said he "admonishes the importance of noting that the ‘child' involved in these allegations is a hypothetical one."
In other words, no such child, victim or otherwise, exists - so no such attempted victimization was possible, he said.
"There was not even so much as an allegation of an actual physical attempt of anything by Mr. Domanski beyond, perhaps, driving his car in a general direction. He's permitted to do that as a licensed driver in the state of New Jersey," Savage said.
As far as the trip Domanski made to Bergen County earlier this month - the one authorities allege was to meet and have sex with the nonexistent girl - Savage said his client offered him an explanation.
"He told me he was actually going there to talk the mother out of using her child that way," Savage said in a phone interview about the meeting that was arranged for Domanski to have sex with the girl.
Savage said the second-degree allegations of attempted sexual assault and third-degree allegations of attempted endangering the welfare of a minor are "yet another example of the state and Bergen County prosecutors overcharging a defendant just to make sure that something sticks."
Maureen Parenta, spokeswoman for the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, declined to comment on Savage's claims.
Savage said in the news release that Domanski's arrest "stemmed from an ongoing Internet investigation conducted by members of a loosely organized task force comprised of several otherwise disconnected police agencies."
Also nabbed in the sting was Seth Dixon, 28, of Ezara Court in Brick Township, who was charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual assault after authorities said he arranged the meeting. He also was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor by transmitting child pornography over the Internet.
Domanski has worked on Long Beach Island as a professional ocean lifeguard, Coast Guard Auxiliary officer and is the national director of the Exercise Tiger National Foundation.
"He's (Domanski) given me a clear picture of what he did and didn't do. The tendency among prosecutors is to throw everything at a problem except the kitchen sink. They're charging him with more than they can prove," Savage said. "I would urge everyone to reserve judgment until you have heard the entire story."
Contact Donna Weaver: