TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a former state assistant family services worker pleaded guilty today to an official misconduct charge for using his position to pressure two women he was responsible for supervising in court-ordered child visits into having sexual relations with him.
Lamont King, 41, of Trenton, N.J., pleaded guilty to a second-degree charge of conspiracy to commit a pattern of official misconduct before Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown in Mercer County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that King be sentenced to three years in state prison. He will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Sentencing for King is scheduled for Nov. 16.
Deputy Attorneys General Valerie Butler, Brian Uzdavinis and Kathryn Faris prosecuted King and took the guilty plea today for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The indictment stems from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau South Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
King formerly was an assistant family services worker in the Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP). In that position, he had various duties, including the transportation of clients, both adults and children, to and from court-scheduled visits, and supervision of such visits. His responsibilities included writing reports and making recommendations to the department and court. The investigation revealed that King used his position to pressure two DCPP clients to have sexual relations on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016. He was suspended without pay after the conduct was uncovered and then terminated by the department. The Department of Children and Families provided assistance and cooperated fully throughout the investigation.
“The manner in which King pressured his victims into sexual relations by exploiting his authority and playing on their fears regarding their children was corrupt and deplorable,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This guilty plea reflects our resolve to investigate and aggressively prosecute this type of abuse of authority.”
“King’s predatory conduct against two vulnerable victims makes this a particularly offensive case of official misconduct,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Through our joint investigation and prosecution with the New Jersey State Police, we have ensured that he will face a state prison sentence.”
“King abused his position as a public employee by preying on victims, using his authority to coerce them into sexual acts while they were vulnerable,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This guilty plea is a result of the hard work by the State Police Official Corruption Bureau and our partners and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate individuals that act unethically in positions of public trust.”
The Code of Ethics of the Department of Children and Families, to which all employees must adhere, prohibits department employees from establishing any improper relationship with a person who is being supervised or served as a client of the department.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public can also log on to the Division webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.
The Attorney General’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips from the public leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted on the Attorney General’s website at: www.nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.
Robin Lord, Esq., of Trenton, N.J.
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