PISCATAWAY — A township man has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a boy and a girl during separate incidents over a span of 13 years, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Chief Richard Ivone of the Piscataway Police Department announced today.
Joseph T. Burns, 71, was arrested at his home on March 27 at 11:05 a.m. and was charged with two counts each of aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault, and three related counts of endangering the welfare of the children.
Bail was set at $600,000 by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz in New Brunswick.
Burns initially was arrested on Nov. 10, 2011, on charges of sexually assaulting two other children, both girls, in separate and unrelated incidents.
In the recent case, Burns was arrested and charged following a lengthy investigation by Investigator Karleen A. Duca of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Detective Ken Schultz and Detective Caesar Pasquale, both of the Piscataway Police Department.
Following the arrest of Burns in November 2011, investigators developed information that led them to the two additional victims, who are now adults.
The investigation alleges that Burns, who was trusted to care for the children on various occasions, sexually assaulted the girl in his home and in her home between July 1994 to July 2005, while she was between the ages of 7 and 16. He was charged with a related count of endangering the welfare of the child.
A second child endangerment count accuses him of giving alcohol to the child and showing her pornographic images when she was 7 years old, and continuing the illicit activities until she was 16 years old.
The investigation further alleges that Burns sexually assaulted the boy on numerous occasions between October 1999 and October 2007, while he was between the ages of 6 and 14.
A grand jury in Middlesex County indicted Burns on Jan. 18, 2012, and charged him with two counts of sexual assault and two counts of child endangerment.
The indictment was handed up after the first two victims reported the assaults to police. One victim, who is now 21 years old, told authorities she was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions when she was between the ages of 5 and 10. The second victim, who is now 16, was allegedly sexually assaulted on two occasions when she was 5 or 6 years old.
The investigation alleges the victims were sexually assaulted during visits to the defendant’s home in Piscataway and at a pool owned by one of Burns’ neighbors.
Authorities ask anyone with information on these, or similar, incidents to call Investigator Duca of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-3600, or Detective Schultz of the Piscataway Police Department at 1-732-562-2350.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Burns are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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