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Man Claims Sheriff Raped Him as a Boy

BELVIDERE, N.J. (CN) - A former New Jersey sheriff raped a young boy while taking him to a county-run shelter, the boy, now a man, claims in court.

Plaintiffs W.M. sued Warren County and John Does 1-10 in Warren County Court.

He claims the sheriff raped him in 1987, when he was 11.

In the complaint, W.M. claims that he was taken to the Warren County Courthouse twice, when he was 8 to 10 years old, to participate in legal proceedings.

On both occasions, he claims, he was taken from a holding cell to the office of the Warren County sheriff, who he said was 6 feet tall and weighed about 300 lbs.

"On each of the above-mentioned occasions, the former Warren County Sheriff, [defendant] John Doe 1, would position W.M. on his lap," the complaint states. "While positioned on his lap, W.M. was touched and fondled upon his genitals."

"On the latter of these occasions, in addition to being fondled, W.M. was physically forced by the sheriff to touch the sheriff's genitals. The sheriff manipulated the young boy's hand in such a way as to stroke the sheriff's genitals until the sheriff's penis became erect.

"In addition to the fondling and the physical manipulation, the former sheriff, who always wore a cowboy hat, would position the eight (8) to ten (10) year old on his lap to pretend W.M. was a cowboy. During these sessions, W.M. was required to 'ride' the sheriff's leg."

In December 1987, when W.M. was 11 years old, Hackettstown police arrested him for minor vandalism, he says. The police had him released to the Warren County Children's Shelter. W.M. claims the Warren County sheriff volunteered to take him to the shelter.

"Instead of transporting W.M. directly to the warren County Children's Shelter, however, the sheriff pulled off on a secluded trail road and parked the vehicle," the complaint states. "The sheriff then positioned himself and the young boy in the back seat and undressed both himself and W.M.

"After removing the eleven (11)-year-old's pants, the sheriff performed fellatio on the child.

"Thereafter, the sheriff, John Doe 1, forced W.M. to perform fellatio on the defendant.

"Throughout this encounter, the sheriff engaged in inappropriate touching of the private areas of the child.

"Eventually, John Doe 1 sexually penetrated W.M. through anal intercourse, while the child screamed and pleaded for him to stop.

"After raping the eleven (11) year old boy, he commanded the child never to speak of the incident and further told the child he would 'take care of him.'"

Then dropped the boy off at the shelter, the complaint states.

After two days at the shelter, W.M. says, he worked up the courage to report the incident to a county shelter employee-who promptly beat him.

"Upon being advised by W.M. of the sexual assault and rape perpetrated by the sheriff, the employee/agent of the shelter (John Doe 2) punched W.M. in the abdomen with enough force to knock the wind out of him, calling him a 'fucking faggot,' and told him to 'never to speak about that again,'" according to the complaint.

"In so doing, the county employee/agent not only acquiesced in the sexual abuse, but took direct action against the victim to ensure the abuse would not come to light."

W.M. claims that the Warren County Children's Shelter failed to report the incident "or in any way address the known sexual tendencies of fellow county employee, John Doe 1."

He claims that John Doe 1 pleaded guilty on March 11, 1992 to the criminal charge of official misconduct stemming from the sexual abuse of boys during his tenure as sheriff.

"At the time of the sexual assault of the plaintiff, other employees/agent of the Warren County, including members of the Warren County Sheriff's Department, knew or should have known of the sexual tendencies of the then active sheriff in targeting young boys, including W.M., and acquiesced in the abuse by failing to take remedial actions," the complaint states.

W.M. seeks compensatory and punitive damages for violations of the Child Sexual Abuse Act, battery and assault, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and failure to act.

He is represented by Brad M. Russo of Phillipsburg, N.J.

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