Man charged with sex assault of girl, 12

Joseph Anthony Caracciolo , 47, has a lengthy criminal history and has been a fugitive since 2005, authorities said.
Joseph Anthony Caracciolo , 47, has a lengthy criminal history and has been a fugitive since 2005, authorities said.
Posted: September 19, 2013

Joseph Anthony Caracciolo said he wanted to hold his infant daughter, and wrote to his girlfriend how much he loved her and wanted to be with her.

The 13-year-old mother from Atlantic County, however, had learned by then that the man she knew as Joseph Grillo was a fake with a lengthy criminal history, including rape and bigamy.

Federal authorities identified him as Caracciolo, 47, a high school dropout, registered sex offender, and ex-convict who was wanted by the FBI even as he preyed upon the victim beginning when she was 12. They said they are trying to determine if there are other potential victims.

Tuesday, the clean-shaven, 5-foot-7 Caracciolo appeared in Camden for his first U.S. District Court appearance on charges that he sexually assaulted the victim, who at 12 could not legally consent to sex.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Danilewitz depicted Caracciolo as a serial predator who has been caught conning women since the 1990s. He said Caracciolo was a threat to the community and a flight risk.

"There are numerous victims who have been left in his wake literally from coast to coast," Danilewitz said.

Caracciolo's public defender, Thomas Young, agreed not to contest incarceration.

In addition to changing his name, authorities said, Caracciolo was a gambler who frequented Atlantic City. He told women of bogus careers that included working as a head chef and a pediatric dentist. His elaborate tales sometimes included that he was suffering from cancer. One of his forearm tattoos displays a cancer ribbon with boxing gloves.

According to a criminal complaint made public Tuesday, Caracciolo and the victim in Atlantic County corresponded by phone and Caracciolo, who lived in New York, agreed to meet the girl at her father's home in Egg Harbor Township in the summer of 2012. There, the two had sexual intercourse for the first time.

On another occasion, the complaint said, Caracciolo allegedly molested the girl during a trip to the Poconos that same summer.

Authorities said Caracciolo has used the names Joseph Crillo and Joseph Grillo, and has lived in New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Virginia, Connecticut, Florida, and New York.

Caracciolo, a fugitive since 2005, was arrested in New York on Aug. 28 on the charges from Atlantic County.

The victim gave birth to a girl in April. She later told authorities that the baby's father had identified himself as Joseph Grillo or Crillo, and the two had kept in touch throughout her pregnancy through phone calls and text messages.

The victim agreed to allow investigators to record their phone conversations and read their text messages.

On Aug. 13, he allegedly texted her: "I miss you so much . . . And I want to hold my [baby] so bad."

In a phone conversation that month, Caracciolo expressed concern that the victim only wanted to speak to him because he had fathered their child. He worried that the victim's mother would see her phone messages. He also texted concern she was seeing someone else, according to the criminal complaint.

"If he comes near my kid . . . I'll kill him. OK?" Caracciolo allegedly wrote in one text.

Atlantic County authorities located Caracciolo after tracking the cellphone he was using in New York. Meanwhile, authorities had been looking for him after he moved and failed to register his address on a federal registry for sex offenders, authorities said.

Caracciolo has been the subject of newspaper articles that reported he was first arrested on a weapons charge after his 18th birthday, and once was charged for posing as a police officer in Massachusetts, forcing a woman to have sex with him.

According to news accounts, Caracciolo has another daughter and a son with two other women. Authorities also say he has married at least twice, exchanging vows with his second bride in Florida while he was still married to his first wife in California.

The FBI is asking individuals with information concerning Caracciolo to contact the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at https://tips.fbi.gov.


Contact Barbara Boyer at 856-779-3838, bboyer@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @BBBoyer.

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