Recently, a 52-year-old man, who is a former director of Ocean City’s beach fee office, entered a guilty plea to charges of official misconduct and criminal sexual contact. The man had originally been charged with second-degree sexual assault in 2012. In early 2015 charges of official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child were also added.

It was alleged the man had sexual relations with a 17-year-old female subordinate who also worked at the beach fee office. While the age of consent in New Jersey is 16, a provision in state statutes makes it illegal for anyone in a supervisory position to have sexual relations with a subordinate who is 16 or 17 years of age.

The plea agreement dropped the second-degree sexual assault, which has a mandatory jail sentence. But the man will have to register as a sexual offender, meaning he will have to meet a number of requirements including notifying authorities whenever he moves, gets a new job or has Internet access. In addition, the man is also facing a civil suit brought by the female and her mother.

Being charged with a sex crime can turn your life completely upside down. You can lose your standing in the community and your relationships with family members could become irrevocably damaged. And, as is the case in this story, you will be required to register with the authorities as a sex offender.

If you are ever charged with having committed a sex crime, it is very important to prepare a strategy to answer the charges. You will have some options regarding your legal response. An experienced criminal defense attorney could be of great service by assessing your case and advising you on your best course of action. Given the circumstances, you may wish to fight the charges or enter a plea that limits the penalties that will be imposed.

Source: OCNJ Daily, “Cusack Avoids Jail With Plea Deal in Beach Tag Office Sex Case,” Doug Bergen, Nov. 2, 2015