Nutley, NJ fire chief caught on video seeking teen boy for sex
NUTLEY — The township's fire chief is under fire after a YouTube group caught him on video admitting he was meeting a 14-year-old in a parking lot for sex on Tuesday night.
The group OBL Nation, which describes itself as a group that catches online predators, posted an Instagram video showing Fire Chief Henry Meola admitting he came to the shopping center to meet someone for "some form of something sexual." The location of the shopping center was not disclosed by OBL.
After a graphic conversation about how he thought their encounter would go, the interviewer berated Meola for his intentions.
"What is f**king wrong with you, man," the interviewer said as the video ends.
OBL Nation wrote that Meola "confessed to everything" and was detained but did not say by which law enforcement agency. His electronics were seized and the group said it was working with "prosecutors."
Authorities confirm investigation into fire chief
"The Nutley Police Department has confirmed that we are investigating allegations against a volunteer fire chief. The Hudson County Prosecutors Office is conducting an ongoing investigation regarding these allegations that were reportedly recorded by a YouTuber. No charges have been authorized at this time," Nutley police Lt. Anthony Montanari told New Jersey 101.5 in a statement.
Montanari said that the case was transferred to Hudson County based on the jurisdiction the alleged incident took place. TAPIntoNutley.com reported the video was made at a shopping center in North Bergen which includes a Walmart.
He did not disclose if Meola has been suspended but his name was not listed on the township website with other personnel.
Who is Henry Meola?
Meola was sworn in as Nutley's youngest fire chief by township commissioners in December 2020 for a two-year term that ended Dec. 1, 2022. He had been a firefighter since high school, according to TAPintoNutley.com coverage of his appointment.
On his LinkedIn page, Meola said he is an electrician, light board operator/programmer for Disney ABC Television. The cover photo on his Facebook profile appears to be overlooking the set of ABC's "The View."
What do cops think about citizen stings on predators?
The public is generally discouraged from staging their own stings on child predators.
“Investigations into alleged criminal activity must be conducted by trained law enforcement officials — with the assistance of members of the public when and where appropriate," Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in 2020. "Private citizens who take it upon themselves to investigate what they believe to be criminal conduct may compromise the potential investigation. They can also find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Please leave criminal investigations to the professionals."