[Updated 10:15 a.m., 1:45 p.m. Feb. 21]
Saul Nathan “Nate” Barson, a 29-year-old male from Lambertville who worked as an animal control officer in Princeton and formerly volunteered with the Lambertville-New Hope Ambulance and Rescue Squad, was arrested Monday and charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old male on Feb. 3 at Pat Livezey Park.
In a similar case, Nicholas David Fischer, 21, was arrested Friday at his residence in Warrington Township for allegedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child at Pat Livezey Park in Solebury Township on Jan. 28.
Two separate incidents, but was the same 13-year-old victim involved, or did the victims know one another?
Authorities aren’t saying, and part of that may be the legal priority of maintaining the victim’s privacy. But affidavits filed in the Barson and Fischer cases reveal striking similarities: in both, the victim was a 13-year-old male, he met his assailant through social media, the alleged incidents were one week apart, in the same location, with the victim meeting the assailant at his car, and engaging in similar initial sexual activity.
Barson lives in West Amwell, N.J., just over the border from Lambertville. He was arrested after an investigation of the Feb. 3 incident by Solebury Township police, and arraigned by District Court Judge Gallagher, who set bail 10% of $300,000. Barson was remanded to Bucks County Prison, and was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of minors and criminal use of a communication facility — the same charges filed against Fischer in his case.
Fischer met his 13-year-old victim through Grindr, while Barson encountered his 13-year-old prey through social media application Snapchat.
“The Solebury Township Police Department has recently investigated two sexual assault incidents involving children, the Internet and related applications that occurred over the past month,” said law enforcement officials in a statement Monday. “The police department has and will aggressively investigate these crimes against the children of this community.”
New Hope-Solebury School District Superintendent Steven Yanni said in a statement to parents Monday night, “We will continue to do our very best to help our students as we engage, enrich, and empower them daily. Just as we will have conversations with our students to ensure they know how to remain safe, we encourage everyone in our community to do the same. Together, as a team, we will protect ‘our’ kids.
Solebury Township Police ask that anyone who may have had contact with Barson with regard to the charges call them at (215) 348- 7400.
(Information is provided by law enforcement and court officials, and is assumed accurate. All suspects and arrested persons are presumed not guilty unless proven guilty in a Court of Law or until such rights are waived by the accused.)