Essex County Man Charged with Sexual Assault of Minor that He Met in an Internet Chat Room


An Essex County man was indicted on charges of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Morris County girl he lured via an online kids chat room.

Viktor Zhadanov, 27, of Belleville, was arrested when police found him with the girl in his sports utility vehicle.  The girl told police she met Zhadanov in Kids Chat, an online chat room, where he had the user name of “Slave” and claimed he was 15 and from Newark.

An indictment handed up by a grand jury in Superior Court in Morristown charges him with three counts of second-degree luring via electronic means; two counts each of second-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact; three counts of third-degree endangering; and one count of third-degree hindering apprehension, of providing false information to police.

Sexual crimes involving minors often result in enhanced punishment for the accused.  An individual can be convicted of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under 13 years old.  In this case, the victim is 13 years of age.  Therefore, this individual was charged with sexual assault.  For further understanding, refer to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2.

Regardless, if the accused is convicted of sexual assault on a minor, he is likely subject to being placed on a sex offender registry, commonly known as “Megan’s Law.”  This system classifies sex offenders into three tiers with a Tier 3 offender being the highest.  The different tiers are then subject to various restrictions and notification requirements.  Over time, through status hearings between the offender, prosecutor, and the Court, an individual can have his tier designation reduced, thereby going from Tier 2 to Tier 1, for example.

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A Slight Touching Can Lead to Criminal Sexual Contact Charges in New Jersey

Criminal sexual contact in New Jersey is a combination of sexual contact combined with another factor that makes the sexual contact criminal. Sexual contact itself is not criminal and is different than sexual penetration which is required for a conviction of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault. Sexual contact is merely an intentional touching of a person’s sexual organs, anal area, inner thigh, groin, butt or breast. Additionally, it must be committed with the intention of degrading the victim or arousing the toucher. The touching can be as slight as a pat on the thigh and it does not have to be under the clothing in order to constitute sexual contact. However, in order for the contact to be criminal, it must be combined with another factor such as if the toucher uses force or the victim is between 13 and 16. For a full list of the combination factors, please visit my criminal sexual contact page.

For an example of how slight the touching must be in order to constitute sexual contact, consider a recent criminal sexual contact case in Woodbridge that resulted in a conviction. The charge stemmed from a situation in which a 36-year-old middle school teacher met with a 13-year-old student outside of school. They kissed and he placed his hand on her thigh. As a result of this incident, the man was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of child, and lewd comments. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison followed by 5 months on probation and a lifetime on the Megan’s Law sex offender registry. The man had been a teacher at the school for 7 years. Note that it was not the kissing that caused the conviction, but the touching of the thigh. Under the statute for criminal sexual contact, touching the thigh constitutes sexual contact. In this case, the man admitted that he touched the girl’s thigh for his own sexual gratification which is also a requirement under sexual contact. The girl’s age was the combination factor that made the touching criminal and he was therefore sentenced accordingly.

Convicted of Criminal Sexual Contact in Elizabeth

When a person commits aggravated sexual assault in Elizabeth, it is common to be charged with multiple New Jersey sex offenses including endangering the welfare of a child or criminal sexual contact. In order to commit an act of New Jersey sexual assault, there must be sexual penetration between the victim and the offender. For criminal sexual contact in New Jersey to occur there must be an act of sexual contact. The reason the two offenses are often together is because when an act of sexual penetration has been satisfied for sexual assault, then most likely an act of sexual contact has been satisfied for criminal sexual contact. For an example of how this works consider a recent Elizabeth sex offense case in which a man was charged with sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal sexual contact in New Jersey.

In the case, a family friend who lived in the basement was convicted of multiple sex offenses after one of the children reported his conduct to her father, the landlord. The assault began when the girl was 6-years-old, but it was not reported until she was 10. Two of her siblings were also assaulted by the same man. The man told her that if she informed her parents of the assault, no one would believe her. When the girl eventually told her father, the father found little cameras in his daughters’ rooms from which the man had been watching them. Hundreds of DVDs were also discovered in which the man recorded the acts of sexual assault with the girls. He was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison for the offenses.

The man’s act established the requirements for a conviction of both criminal sexual contact and aggravated sexual assault. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in Elizabeth because he was an adult who committed an act of sexual penetration with a person who is under 13-years-old. Sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, and insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina.  He was also convicted of criminal sexual contact because he committed an act of sexual contact and used force and/or coercion. Sexual contact is an intentional touching (under or over clothing) of a person’s sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, butt or breast, committed with the purpose of degrading the victim or sexually arousing the toucher. Sexual penetration and sexual contact are similar; the main difference being that penetration is not required.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crime defense attorney and many of the sex crime cases I handle involve defendants charged with multiple sex offenses that stem from the same conduct. Fortunately, the premise that allows the state to charge an individual with multiple offenses for the same conduct can sometimes work in the clients favor because when evidence can be discredited in a way that strikes down shared elements of various charges, both charges are often dismissed. If you or a loved one has been charged with multiple sex offenses in New Jersey, there are many defenses that may be available on your behalf. To speak with an experienced sex crime attorney about the charges you face call 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.

To learn more about sex crimes in New Jersey, visit the sex crimes homepage on my website

Aggravated Sexual Assault in Edison

In New Jersey, when a person is convicted of a sex crime against a child, the penalties are extremely severe and can include increased prison time and supervision long after release.  For an example of the enhanced penalties that sex offenders face, consider a recent case in which a New Jersey man was convicted of the aggravated sexual assault of a child in Edison.  The man went to trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl for a period of three years.  He was convicted and given the maximum sentence available in first degree crimes, 20 years.

Because he received a conviction for aggravated sexual assault, he was subjected to the 85% rule which applies to a number of different sexual crimes and requires the convict to serve 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.  That means he must serve 17 out of 20 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.  And upon release, he will be subjected to Megan’s Law which will require him to notify local authorities of his presence so that they can notify the local community of his crime, residence, and appearance.

This case illustrates the types of penalties sex offenders face upon conviction.  My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crime attorney, and I handle sex crime cases of this severity on a daily basis.  If you are facing charges of this magnitude, I have been able to avoid conviction or severely reduce penalties for almost all of my clients and I may be able to do the same for you.  The first 24 hours in which you are targeted are often the most crucial when it comes to protecting a defendant’s reputation and preventing incriminating evidence from accumulating so never hesitate to contact an attorney.  At the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud, I have the experience necessary to ensure your rights are fully protected.  Contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 for a free consultation about the road you face ahead.  For more information on sex crimes in New Jersey, visit my website at