NEWARK – A corrections officer with the Essex County Correctional Facility was expected to appear in court this afternoon for allegedly sexually assaulting a pretrial detainee in the facility and then lying about it to investigators, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Shawn D. Shaw, 40, of Newark, was charged by indictment with depriving an individual of rights under color of law and with obstruction of justice. The indictment was unsealed upon Shaw’s arrest on Oct. 8. He appeared that day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo and was released on a $100,000 bond with home detention. Shaw has been suspended from his duties since his arrest.
According to the indictment:
On Dec. 28, 2010, Shaw, while acting in his official capacity as a corrections officer, allegedly subjected a detainee in the custody of the Essex County Correctional Facility to aggravated sexual abuse that caused bodily injury to the victim.
When investigators questioned Shaw about the attack, he allegedly lied and intentionally omitted information from his statement in order to obstruct the investigation. Specifically, Shaw is accused of falsely stating that he did not make sexual comments to the detainee or enter the victim’s cell.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to the arrest. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, with providing valuable information.
The charge of deprivation of rights under color of law carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. The obstruction of justice count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
The government is represented by Criminal Division Chief Thomas Eicher and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Chen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, and Trial Attorney Shan Patel of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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