Last Thursday, a Union County Grand Jury returned a thirteen count indictment against a retired drama teacher and theater director at a middle school in Summit, Union County Prosecutor William A. Danieland Acting Summit Police Chief Steven Zagorski jointly announced Wednesday.
Ronald E. Wells, 70, of Summit, is charged with one count of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child in connection with a series of sexual offenses he committed against six male students between 2003 and 2017.
All of the victims were between the ages of 12 and 14 during their assaults.
A joint investigation by the Summit Police Department and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit began when in June of 2021, a former student reported to the Summit Police that he had been assaulted by Wells in 2016 in a private area of the Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, according to Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.
Wells was charged soon thereafter.
During the course of the investigation, several other victims, also former students, came forward to the Summit Police Department alleging acts by Wells dating back as far as 2003.
Wells is currently on pre-trial release pending his post-indictment arraignment before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert A. Kirsch on Monday, April 18.
Anyone with information about this or similar incidents involving Wells is being urged to contact Summit Police Department Captain Ryan Peters at 908-277-9380.
Convictions on crimes of the first degree are commonly punishable by terms of between 10 and 20 years in state prison. Second-degree crimes carry terms of between 5 and 10 years, and those of the third-degree, between 3 and 5 years.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.