A Hardyston man has been accused of sexually assaulting a Sparta 14-year-old girl last Friday, police said.
Michael L. Buffington Jr., 19, was charged with second-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, an indictable third-degree offense.
Sgt. John-Paul Beebe said a joint investigation of the Sparta and Hardyston police departments led to Buffington's arrest.
Beebe said police determined that on Friday evening, Buffington picked up a 14-year-old girl he knew in his vehicle at a local business and drove her to a secluded wooded area by Ryker Lake on Edison Road in Sparta. Police believe the alleged assault took place at that location.
Hardyston Detective David White initiated an investigation Tuesday after the girl's mother contacted police and said her daughter had been sexually assaulted by a person later identified as Buffington, Beebe said.
When White determined the incident occurred in Sparta, he contacted Detective Sgt. Terrence Mulligan, of the township's police department.
Sparta detectives determined Buffington and the girl knew each other and the man was brought in for questioning Wednesday morning, according to the police report.
After the interview, he was placed under arrest and was remanded to the Sussex County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail with no 10 percent option.