Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a suspended state assistant family services worker has been charged with official misconduct for allegedly using his position to have sex with a young mother whom he was responsible for transporting and supervising in connection with court-ordered visits with her son.
Lamont King, 39, of Trenton, was served yesterday afternoon with a complaint-summons charging him with second-degree official misconduct.
The charge stems from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau South Unit and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. King currently is suspended from his job without pay.
King is employed as an assistant family services worker in the Department of Children and Families, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P). In that position, he was responsible for various duties, including the transportation of clients, both adults and children, to and from court-scheduled visits.
The criminal conduct allegedly occurred in March and April 2016 as King transported the client to and from court-ordered visits with her young son. The son was in CP&P custody and had been placed in a foster home. The mother was seeking to regain custody of him. Part of King’s role in supervising these visits was to write reports about the interactions between the parent and the child during the visits. This information may be considered by a judge to assess whether and how soon the parent should regain custody of the child. The mother in this case was aware that King had this authority. King allegedly told the victim that if she trusted him, he could make the visits go well and could recommend that the visits occur at a park or restaurant rather than a state office. He allegedly told her not to tell her case worker anything.
It is alleged that during one of the visits, King told the victim that he wanted to have a relationship with her and made sexually explicit comments to her. After the child was returned to the foster home, King allegedly drove the mother to a secluded wooded area, where he allegedly kissed her and grabbed and rubbed her buttocks.
The victim told detectives that she was upset and angry, but did not resist because she feared she would not be believed if she reported King, and she believed that King could have an impact on her ability to regain custody of her son.
After the next visit, King allegedly drove the victim to a motel in Pennsylvania, where he had sexual intercourse with her. The victim told detectives that she again felt like she had to do what King wanted because she feared that if she didn’t, she would not be able to get custody of her son.
The victim canceled two later visits with her son when King was scheduled to transport her, and she subsequently asked to be transported by a female family services worker. She reported her allegations to her case worker in early May. The Department of Children and Families referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice and State Police for investigation.
The Code of Ethics of the Department of Children and Families, to which all employees must adhere, prohibits department employees from establishing any improper relationship with a person who is being supervised or served as a client of the department.
The second-degree charge of official misconduct carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory period of five years of parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000. The complaint is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because the charge is an indictable offense, the case will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.
Investigators urge anyone with information about this case or other suspected official misconduct to contact the Division of Criminal Justice’s toll-free tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ to report it confidentially. The public also can log on to the Division of Criminal Justice webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected criminal conduct confidentially.