Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 24, 2022, Thomas Downes, 61, of Jersey City, was charged with Criminal Sexual Contact in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3b, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2), relative to an incident that occurred in Toms River on February 12, 2022.
On February 12, 2022, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department were contacted in reference to an incident that occurred at the John Bennett Athletic Bubble in Toms River. A minor female – who was a participant in a track meet taking place at the facility – reported that an adult male approached her and touched her inappropriately. The victim reported the incident to her coach, who then reported the incident to law enforcement. An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau identified Downes as the individual who touched the victim in an inappropriate manner. At the time of the incident, Downes was the head coach of a girls’ track team at a high school located in Jersey City.
On February 28, 2022, Downes surrendered himself to authorities at Toms River Township Police Department Headquarters. He was processed and released on a summons pending a future court appearance.
“If anyone has additional information or regarding this investigation, or who believes they might have been victimized by this defendant, please contact Detective Alex Bromley of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3271, or the Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau at 732- 349-0150, extension 1297,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, for their cooperative efforts and assistance in connection with this investigation.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.