A corrections officer from Jersey City has been charged with sexually assaulting an inmate at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women last month, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin, 28, of Jersey City, was charged with sexual assault and official misconduct.
The charges were filed in an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, conducted with assistance from the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) Special Investigations Division.
The complaint-warrant filed today against Harris-McLaughlin alleges that on September 16th, he sexually assaulted the victim, a female inmate over whom he had supervisory or disciplinary power by virtue of his status as a senior correctional police officer.
The alleged assault involved vaginal penetration and ejaculation.
“We are committed to holding accountable correctional officers who abuse their power and inflict harm on inmates,” Bruck said in a statement.
“I thank the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, Office of Public Integrity & Accountability, and DOC Special Investigations Division for acting so quickly to investigate and bring criminal charges in this matter.”
OPIA Executive Director Thomas said that anyone in custody should not have to be worried about being assaulted in any fashion, which is why swift action was taken in this case.
“When law enforcement officers assault and exploit those subject to their authority, as alleged here, we will ensure that they are fully investigated and prosecuted,” he said.
“When those entrusted to serve the public are alleged to have violated their oath, we will thoroughly and objectively carry out our commitment to seek justice. Our office will continue to work with the Attorney General’s Office and other law enforcement partners in our ongoing mission to create a safe environment for everyone in Hunterdon County,” added Hunterdon County Prosecutor Renée M. Robeson.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The sexual assault charge carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent of the sentence imposed.
Additionally, the official misconduct charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in state prison without possibility of parole.
Former New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks resigned in June after an investigative report documented several instances of physical and sexual abuse.