A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Newark man charged with breaking into a stranger’s home and violently sexually assaulting her before fleeing the scene and spending several days at large last summer, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
According to Union County officials, Jermaine Ramirez, 25, of Newark was convicted on charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree burglary, and third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact following a month-long trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.
Shortly before 5 a.m. on Friday, June 29, 2018, Rahway Police Department patrol units responded to a home on the 100 block of East Hazelwood Avenue to find the then 67-year-old victim suffering from multiple injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Jessica Kahn and Bryan Tiscia, who prosecuted the case.
The woman, who told investigators she awoke to an unknown male grabbing her, pinning her down, and sexually assaulting her, was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
An investigation involving the Special Victims Unit (“SVU”) of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Rahway Police Department, quickly resulted in Ramirez being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested in Rahway on Tuesday, July 3, 2018.
Leading the investigation were Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Sofia Santos and Detective Ryan Kirsh, as well as Detective Andrew Webb of the Rahway Police Department. Key testimony in the trial was provided by the victim, members of the Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Office, a Union County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (“SANE”), and Union County Forensics Laboratory Forensic Scientist Monica Ghannam, who testified that DNA taken from the victim’s person matched that of the defendant.
“This was a horrific crime perpetuated by a defendant who exhibited a brutal, chilling indifference to a vulnerable victim,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “This verdict not only serves the interests of justice but also ensures the safety of the community at large.”
Ramirez will face between 10 and 30 years in state prison at sentencing, which has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, January 10, 2020. He is also awaiting sentencing on an unrelated burglary out of Essex County.