By: Yuritza Arroyo
Union County authorities announced that a jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who sexually assaulted a Union Township woman in her home in July 2020.
According to officials, Richard Darby, 37, of The Bronx, was found guilty this past Friday on one count each of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree burglary, and third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact following a three-week trial before Union County Superior Court.
Officials say the jury deliberated for just hours before returning its verdict.
In July 2020, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit received a referral from the Union Township Police Department regarding the sexual assault of an elderly victim.
According to authorities, the joint investigation led by the Special Victims Unit and the Union Police Department that followed quickly identified Darby as the suspect.
After a two-day manhunt, Darby was arrested in Jersey City.
According to officials, testimony offered at trial revealed that on the day of the crime, the victim was at her home at approximately 5:00 a.m. and went outside to dispose of her trash, leaving her door propped open.
Officials say when she re-entered the home, she was attacked and sexually assaulted by Darby, who had somehow slipped into the house as she was placing her garbage outside, according to Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Dillon, who prosecuted the case.
According to Police, during the attack, the victim was able to escape the house and call 9-1-1 with her neighbor’s assistance, causing Darby to flee the scene, Dillon added.
Sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 10, at which time Darby can face a sentence of up to twenty years state prison, subject to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA).