A former New Jersey child protection worker has been indicted on allegations of coercing two mothers to engage in sexual behavior in exchange for positive reports and unsupervised visits with their children, the state Attorney General's Office announced Monday.
Lamont King, 40, of Trenton, is charged with official misconduct, bribery, sexual assault, and tampering with public records or information based on incidents in late 2015 and early 2016.
An assistant family services worker for the Department of Children and Families, King was responsible for transporting and supervising court-ordered visitation of children in foster care. He was suspended without pay as a result of the allegations and later fired. On Friday, he was indicted on the criminal charges.
One woman reported that King told her that if she did not perform sexual acts, it would negatively affect visits with her children, according to the Attorney General's Office.
When the woman eventually refused, King allegedly failed to show up for her next scheduled visit with her children, the office said.
"With both of these women, King is alleged to have ruthlessly exploited a mother's love for her children and his power over that emotionally charged relationship to coerce them into having sex with him," Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said in a statement. "It's hard to imagine a more offensive abuse of authority."
King could not be reached for comment. His attorney did not return a call.
According to the Attorney General's Office, the incidents began with one woman in late 2015 and continued through early 2016 as King drove her to visit her children, who were in foster care.
During one visit, King allegedly allowed the woman to have an unsupervised visit after she agreed to engage in a sexual act. The victim later told authorities she was concerned that if she reported the conduct to the state, no one would believe her, authorities said.
The conduct continued, and when the woman said she did not want to engage in any more sexual acts with him, King allegedly threatened to take away visitation with her children, according to authorities.
King's behavior reportedly escalated, and when the woman refused to have intercourse with him, King did not show up for the next visit with the children, authorities said. The mother then reported King to a state caseworker.
About the same time, King was transporting another woman for visitation with her son in foster care, authorities said.
King allegedly told that mother that if she trusted him, he could recommend that visits occur at a park or restaurant instead of a state office, according to authorities.
After one visit, authorities reported, King drove to a secluded area, where he allegedly kissed and groped the victim, and then told her not to tell her caseworker. After the next visit, he allegedly drove the woman to a motel in Pennsylvania, where he had intercourse with her, according to authorities. The woman then reported the incidents to a state caseworker.
"King knew he had power over these two women by virtue of his state position, and we charge that he corruptly used that power to prey on them sexually," said Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice for the Attorney General's Office. "We prosecute many cases of official misconduct, but few involve conduct as deplorable as what is alleged here."