Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that Kenneth Palmer, a paraprofessional at Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, has been sentenced to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison for masturbating in the hallways of the school and taking an inappropriate photograph of a student.
Officials said they arrested Palmer, 22, of Randolph on Sept. 28, 2017, at a Shop Rite in Succasunna in a different case.
During that investigation by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities say they discovered videos on his phone of Palmer masturbating in front of children.
Officials later determined the conduct took place in the hallways of Jefferson school, where he was employed.
Officials say he also took an “upskirt” photo of a little girl at the same school. It was unclear whether children saw his conduct, but the law does not require that they observe him.
Police charged Palma in Essex County with assault for engaging in an act of criminal contact with himself in view of children younger than 13, said Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Freier, who handled the case.
Police say Palmer entered a guilty plea on Oct. 15, 2018, on multiple counts of sexual assault by contact and one count of endangering the welfare of a child for taking the “upskirt” image of the child.
The Honorable John Zunic, Judge of the Superior Court, sentenced Palmer to 10 years, seven of which are subject to the No Early Release Act.
Assistant Prosecutor Freier said, “New Jersey law protects children under the age of 13 from being subjected to sexual conduct like this, regardless of whether they saw or understood it.’’