Media, PA- Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer today announced the arrest of Justin W. Hazelton, 21, of Havertown, on one misdemeanor count of corruption of a minor. The charge arises from an investigation by Detective Steven Bannar of the DA’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) which determined that the defendant had exchanged multiple sexually explicit text messages with a minor. At the time of the messages, the defendant was employed as a part-time officer with the Upland Police Department.
“The law is clear – exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a minor is a crime,” said Stollsteimer. “Such activity is never acceptable, but in this case – where the perpetrator is a police officer — it is critically important that we call out this unlawful behavior. The Delaware County law enforcement community has zero-tolerance for child predators. Even when they’re one of our own.”
On July 17, 2020, the Office of the District Attorney was contacted by Delaware County’s Department of Children and Youth Services and informed that a minor was receiving a sexually explicit message from the defendant. The messages were brought to the attention of Children and Youth Services by an attorney who was working on an unrelated matter that had caused him to examine the contents of the minor’s cell phone. After interviewing the attorney, Detective Bannar conducted an interview with the minor, who confirmed that she had been receiving the inappropriate messages from the defendant via Snapchat. Subsequently, Detective Bannar and Detective Lythgoe met with the defendant, and he acknowledged that he had sent and received the text messages that were the subject of the investigation.
On August 13, 2020, the defendant, Justin Hazelton, turned himself in at the Media Courthouse with his attorney. Hazelton was arraigned and bail was set at $50,000 unsecured. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday, September 3, 2020, in front of Judge G. Stone, Brookhaven.
District Attorney Stollsteimer concluding by adding, “I want to thank the hardworking members of my staff, the staff at Children and Youth Services, as well as Detectives Bannar and Lythgoe. This case is a stark reminder to all of us of the risks posed by social media. As difficult as it may be, particularly as children spend more time than ever on their phones, we must all remain vigilant.”
The District Attorney and the Criminal Investigations Division remind anyone in Delaware County who observes suspicious activity call to 911 immediately and provide the most specific and accurate details possible to assist law enforcement agencies investigating the call for service.
For press inquiries, contact Margie McAboy, Public Information Officer, 610-579-0429.