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Acting AG Bruck Announces Charges Against Five New Defendants in Prison Assault Investigation

By kbm0423 on
Clinton Township

Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck today announced criminal charges against Department of Corrections Associate Administrator Sean St. Paul and four correctional police officers—a major and three senior officers—related to an incident in which inmates were assaulted and seriously injured at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women on January 12. 

According to the Attorney Generals Office, a total of 15 defendants—including Associate Administrator St. Paul, a major, a lieutenant, four sergeants, and eight senior correctional police officers—have now been charged in the ongoing criminal investigation. 

The Attorney Generals Office stated that Associate Administrator St. Paul was the highest-ranking DOC official at Edna Mahan on the night of the assaults and is the highest-ranking person to be criminally charged in this investigation. 

Within DOC, the top-ranking civilian official at a prison holds the title of “administrator,” but the person who held that title at Edna Mahan was on leave during the January 12 assaults. 

According to the Attorney Generals Office, at the time, two officials—St. Paul and an assistant superintendent—shared responsibilities as the facility’s top-ranking officials, although it was St. Paul who was on duty on the night in question.

According to the Attorney Generals Office, also among those charged is Major Ryan Valentin. Within DOC, major is the highest rank that a correctional police officer can obtain while working at a prison.

“We promised to follow the facts wherever they go, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. 

“We are holding accountable everyone who was involved in January’s brutal assaults, from the line officers working the cell block to the highest-ranking prison official on duty that night. With today’s charges, we are making clear that even the senior-most leadership at Edna Mahan must be held responsible for their illegal conduct.”

Acting Attorney General Bruck and Executive Director Eicher urged anyone with information related to this incident to report it by calling 1-844-OPIA-TIPS.

According to the Attorney Generals Office, between approximately 10:30 p.m. on January 11 and 1:15 a.m. on January 12, DOC officers and supervisors assigned to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility (EMCF) in Clinton conducted forced cell extractions of inmates located in the Restorative Housing Unit (RHU) complex. 

The 15 defendants charged to date allegedly directed or participated in the forced cell extractions.

The following defendants were charged today by complaint-summons with the listed offenses:

Former Associate Administrator Sean St. Paul, 55, of Newark

  • Official Misconduct (2nd Degree)
  • Conspiracy (2nd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

Major Ryan Valentin, 44, of Bloomfield

  • Official Misconduct (2nd Degree)
  • Conspiracy (2nd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

Senior Correctional Police Officer Desiree Lewis, 33, of Elizabeth

  • Aggravated Assault (2nd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

Senior Correctional Police Officer Brandon Burgos, 22, of Roseland

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

Senior Correctional Police Officer Marika Sprow, 32, of West Orange

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd Degree)

Following the incident, the Attorney General’s Office deployed victim-witness advocates to speak with the inmates who were targeted and to help them obtain the medical and psychological services they needed. 

On June 30, the Attorney General’s Office released all video recordings related to the incident. The recordings are posted online: Click here for recordings.