A Bayville man who engaged a 12-year old Stafford Township girl through texting and chatting on social media is charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault after he allegedly visited her home and attacked her January 19.

Joseph Barden, 19, of the Bayville section of Berkeley Township conversed with the girl for weeks on Facebook or via cellphone where they exchanged photographs, according to Ocean County Prosecutors Office Spokesman Al Della Fave.

On January 19, Barden allegedly went to the girls home, climbed in through her window and sexually assaulted her.

Joseph Barden. (Ocean County Jail)

He was arrested Saturday and charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Barden was brought to the Ocean County Jail pending his detention hearing on the aforementioned charges.

Stafford Township Police Detective Levi McVey and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit Det. Stephanie Bayha as well as OCPO High Tech Crime Unit Detective Raymond Coles and Ocean County Sheriff’s CSI Detetive Stephen Capoano worked together in the investigation.

The public is reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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