Man gets 3 years after televised Bergen Co. sex sting

A Toms River judge sentenced a Pennsylvania man caught in a "To Catch a Predator" sting to three years in prison for attempted luring.

Howard Thornton drove more than two hours to Ocean County last year expecting to have sex with what he thought was a 12-year-old girl that he had been chatting with on the Internet. He was, however, falling for a ruse set up by police and recorded by NBC. Police say Thornton knew he was going to get caught and turned around.

Thornton was pulled over by police and arrested. Police say he brought condoms with him for the expected rendezvous.

Though Thornton pleaded guilty to the attempted luring charge, his lawyers are calling the sting operation a case of entrapment. Assistant Prosecutor Hillary Bryce doesn't buy that defense.

"The people who were arrested have initiated all the sexual nature of the chats," she says.

Thornton was arrested with 27 other men in the NBC-recorded police sting. The men arrested range in age from 21 to 60 years old.

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