A Union Beach man accused of groping of five juvenile girls in a temporary Spirit Halloween Store in October 2012 has been indicted of the crimes. This indictment means the 34-year-old defendant will stand trial for seven counts of sexual assault as well as seven counts of child endangerment.
The charges stem from accusations he engaged in sexual contact with five girls between the ages of 8 and 13 while working at the Halloween costume shop at the Pathmark Shopping Plaza. Accusations state that he improperly touched the girls while they were shopping for costumes. Crimes against juveniles tend to carry stricter penalties when the accuser is younger than a particular age threshold. Sexual contact initiated with a person under the age of 13 automatically increases the charge to sexual assault.
Since the original Oct. 19, 2012 accusations, two other juvenile girls have come forward with claims against the defendant. He is currently being held at the Monmouth County Jail as he awaits trial.
The assault charges against the man are considered fourth degree crimes, while the endangerment charges are considered third degree. If convicted of the sexual assault, he could face up to 18 months in prison. The endangerment charges could carry up to five years in prison.
The long-term consequences of juvenile crimes can be truly devastating. Because these crimes involve children, the accused is often put under tremendous scrutiny by the media and the public, making it difficult to face the charges. An attorney can help devise a plan of defense or offer a plea bargain to lessen the impact of the charges.
Source: Middletown Patch, “Jury Indicts Man Accused of Groping Girls at Halloween Store,” Christina Johnson, April 9, 2013