Brigantine Police Officer Indicted on Sexual Assault Charges

As seen in the Brigantine Beachcomber & Press of Atlantic City  >>

ATLANTIC COUNTY — A Brigantine police officer was indicted Thursday, Jan 8 on charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.

An Atlantic County grand jury indicted Brigantine Police Officer Ralph M. Pereira, 44, of the 5000 block of Ontario Avenue on 10 criminal counts in connection with the sexual assault of the girl in 2012 and 2013.

The charges were: two counts of sexual assault, a second-degree crime; three counts of official misconduct, a second-degree crime; three counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child; one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child; and one count of criminal sexual contact, a fourth-degree crime.

An investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, with the assistance of by the Brigantine Police Department, resulted in Pereira’s arrest without incident May 19 in Brigantine.

The state alleges that Pereira provided the juvenile with alcohol, committed acts of sexual penetration, and photographed or filmed her in a prohibited sexual act, while he held a position of authority and disciplinary power over the girl by virtue of his employment as a public servant.

Pereira was lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of $100,000 cash bail set by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Donna M. Taylor. Pereira was later released on bail.

A crime of the second degree carries a potential sentence of 5 to 10 years of incarceration in New Jersey State prison. A third-degree crime carries a potential penalty of 3 to five years of imprisonment. A fourth-degree crime carries a potential prison sentence not to exceed 18 months.

First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton represents the state in the matter.

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