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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.

bfree 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.

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