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CMCo Corrections Officer Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting a Minor

CMCo Corrections Officer Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting a Minor

By Herald Staff

Jonathan Perez
Jonathan Perez
Cape May County Correctional Facility
Jonathan Perez

COURT HOUSE – A jury found a Cape May County corrections officer guilty of sexually assaulting a minor on Friday, April 12.

A jury trial for Jonathan Perez, 34, a corrections officer at the Cape May County Correctional Facility, began on March 18, charging him with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault with a minor, one count of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all four counts against Perez on April 12.

The trial was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the New Jersey State Police Woodbine Barracks, which was initiated in February 2023 after a juvenile victim reported the abuse, according to a joint release from Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland and Sheriff Robert Nolan.

Prosecutor Sutherland expressed gratitude to the dedicated detectives, forensic nurses, medical professionals, victim advocates and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Bryna Batten in obtaining a guilty verdict.

“Thanks to the diligent efforts and unwavering commitment of our law enforcement professionals, justice has been served swiftly and decisively. Their dedication to upholding the law and seeking justice for victims is commendable,” Sutherland said.

“The successful outcome of this case is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our law enforcement agencies and our independent judicial system. We are grateful for their tireless work in protecting our community and ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.”

He added that “sexual assault is a serious crime, and there is no tolerance for such behavior within our ranks or our community. We recognize the gravity of these charges and the impact they have on the trust between law enforcement and the community we serve. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family during this difficult time. We commend their bravery in coming forward and speaking out against this egregious behavior.

“This conviction underscores our unwavering commitment to pursuing justice and holding individuals accountable for their actions, especially when they harm innocent children. We must all remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding our children from exploitation and abuse. It is crucial for anyone who has experienced or witnessed any form of abuse to come forward and seek assistance. Reporting such incidents promptly is essential to ensuring the safety and well-being of our community. We encourage parents, caregivers, and community members to remain vigilant and educate themselves about child safety and prevention strategies.”

An individual convicted of an aggravated sexual assault with a victim under 13 years of age is subject to a term of imprisonment of 25 years to life per the Jessica Lunsford Act. An individual convicted of a first-degree crime is subject to a term of imprisonment between 10 to 20 years in New Jersey state prison and second-degree crimes can carry a sentence between five to 10 years in state prison.

Perez is currently incarcerated at the Atlantic County Correctional Center pending sentencing currently scheduled for June 12, 2024.

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