PATERSON, N.J. (AP) — A former Jersey City official who admitted having explicit sexual chats with undercover detectives posing as preteen girls is headed to prison.

Joseph Ambrosio received a three-year sentence Friday. He had pleaded guilty in November to four counts of attempted criminal sexual contact and lost his $73,000-a-year job as an assistant city comptroller.

Passaic County prosecutors say the 42-year-old Wall man engaged in numerous online chats in 2009, unaware he was chatting with undercover cops posing as 12-year-old girls.

In handing down the sentence, the judge cited the volume of online conversations — sometimes dozens at a time — for giving Ambrosio a jail term instead of probation, even though there were no actual meetings or sex acts with minors.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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