.

UPDATED: Sheriff's Officer Accused of Sex Abuse of Girls

Thomas Ingham charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

A long-serving Essex County Sheriff’s Officer from Wayne was charged Thursday with sexually abusing a juvenile girl and family friend, authorities said.

Thomas Ingham, 48, an Essex County sheriff’s officer, was charged with one count of sexual asault and the alleged touching of a child under the age of 13, and one count of criminal sexual contact against a young girl who was a family friend, said Chris Freid, assistant prosecutor for the Special Victims Unit of the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Ingham was also charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and lewdness, against both victims who were between the ages of 8 and 14 when the alleged abuse occurred, Freid said.

Ingham, who has been with the sheriff's office for nearly 25 years, has been suspended without pay, according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The girls reported the allegations to Wayne Police July 19. Police informed the prosecutor office's Special Victims Unit of the allegations.

On the most serious charge, sexual assault, Ingham faces up to 10 years in state prison, Freid said. He will be required to serve 85 percent of the sentence for that charge before being eligible for parole.

"He's been with us for just under 24 years. Our internal affairs unit worked with the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office throughout the investigation," said Kevin Lynch, a spokesman for the Essex County Sheriff's Office. "He was immediately suspended without pay." 

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

eyes wide shut October 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM
To "Protect and Serve"
maryanne October 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I hope that the young women get the long-term help that they will need. Isn't there a crime victims fund for counseling?
Flood Plain October 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM
It would probably be a good idea to have a trial prior to assuming that the LEO was guilty of anything. In case you haven't heard, teens are known to LIE. I'd wait to see the evidence prior to any assumptions that there are "crime victims" here.
Julie Ritsema October 12, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Guilty until proven innocent. This man has a wife and children in town, but I can't help but think that if the police have been investigating the allegations since July, they found some stuff out that just didn't add up. I'd have to believe that they did their due diligence, as an arrest was not made until yesterday. I am praying for the victims, and this incident also stands as a firm reminder to talk to our children, and keep communication open with them, and don't assume they won't be in harm's way. Sexual predators will continue until they are caught and locked away.
Flood Plain October 13, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Whether he is innocent or guilty, I have no knowledge, nor do you. And, I have no dog in this fight. But, your comments are what is SICK. This not Salem and we no longer burn witches. First we have trials to evaluate FACTS not just listen to teens' acquistions. Perhaps you remember the Wayne principal who was accused by a teen, but in fact lied. Then, after destroying a family, that man was found not guilty, given back his wages, and forced to be placed back on the payroll. Let's hold off burning this ALLEGED criminal at the stake until AFTER a trial since so many teens lie about everything these days. I'm not saying he is innocent, but let's at least have a trial prior to you lighting any matches near stakes.
Chris Traynor October 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I sometimes find myself despairing and struggling with the notion that there aren't necessarily more predators, creeps, psychos, serial killers, thrill killers, shallow grave diggers, pharmaceutical lobbyists, panty-sniffing molesters, torturing monsters that document their "work" with low-cost cameras, ethically bereft "in-the-pocket" politicians "representing our needs", kidnappers, disguised satanic scum seeking out positions of power over vulnerable children and a generic horde of diddlers and dope-fiends of all kinds. I tell myself that these days there are just more widely published instances reported for each of us to see and, so, we feel outnumbered by what appears to be an ever-growing band of devils. But on my bad days, like when I see stories like this that completely up-end the notion of children feeling safe to turn to a police officer if they're in a vulnerable position, my already fragile belief that we are not a doomed species dead-set on consuming the weak, the sick and the young among us, just crumbles. On a day like this, I wonder if our species truly deserves top billing on this one-in-a-trillion gorgeous blue lifeboat rolling on in the freezing inky waves of space. Maybe we should turn over the keys to the bugs and the beasts.
Flood Plain October 14, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Regarding your last sentence, I think that idea was done in the November 2008 national election. The "bugs and the beasts" in DC have made our economy and society even worse. Let's "Hope for Change" in the election next month towards economic sanity and social civility.
Kel October 17, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Can we please not turn this tragic situation into a political debate? If the allegations are true, then it's disheartening and sad. And if the allegations are not true, then it's still disheartening and sad.
emtpride002 January 12, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Looked up to and hope this isnt true ...former emt student. you were one of my favorite instructors and always made the class more amusing. Any given way accusations are harder to prove when so much time has passed.
Ken Rohlff May 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Tom used to be my brother-in-law and although I've never considered him a good friend, I must say that in the whole time I knew him, I never witnessed anything inappropriate about his behavior around children. He was always ambitious, hard working and really felt he was making a difference through his career. I can't imagine the allegations to be true, knowing him as long as I did.
Luis Reyes June 04, 2013 at 05:05 PM
You, now a days must be careful with this so called kids (teenagers). Some of them not as innocent as the media paint them to be. Nor do they look like children. I don't know which kind of teens these were, but be aware they were not raped. So I may think that the officer may had touch them improperly and still believe that does not carry a prison time of 10 years. With all due respect to the parents of these kids, make sure they have proper clothing on before you allowed them to go into the neighborhood making visits. I am taking a neutral stand as of today. I do not know all details to be able to make a judgment. But I can still see much of this so call kids wearing very short pants and skirts on the streets. That is up to their parents to allowed them to become so exposed to the public, this is a free world so just be careful what you are wishing for. My daughter never went out showing her ass on the streets when she was a teen. I never had any problems with neither of my son and daughter. Thanks GOD for that.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »