Posted June 9, 2021
In April, an Instagram account, OCBP Predators, began posting allegations of widespread sexual abuse and harassment involving the Ocean City New Jersey Beach Patrol. The victims of the alleged sexual misconduct were both beach patrons as well as female beach patrol members.
When the story broke, the social media account now has well over one-hundred and fifty posts and the account was followed by over nine thousand users. As a result of these troubling allegations, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation. The Mayor of Ocean City, Jay Gillian, instructed his aide to oversee beach patrol operations and announced that an attorney would be hired to review the city’s policies and ensure enforcements.
The online posts recount numerous incidents of alleged sexual misconduct involving young women and girls, some as young as thirteen years old, who were allegedly preyed upon by older patrol members. In some posts, allegations are made that patrol members would expose themselves to female guards during the course and scope of their workday. Other posts allege improper and unwanted touching. Posts also allege sexual assault by beach patrol members who apparently leveraged their employment to gain access to the victims.
Posts indicate that this behavior was common among some beach patrol members resulting in a toxic culture dating back many years. Equally troubling, some of the witnesses and victims revealed that the illegal actions were reported to superiors within the municipality as well as law enforcement. Unfortunately, the posts indicated that some of the alleged predators remained employed by the municipality in the same position.
While the investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the alleged wrongdoers, there is also a civil process that allows victims to bring abusers, and their enables, to justice. New Jersey recently passed new legislation giving legal recourse to victims of sexual abuse even in cases that occurred many years ago such as though allegedly involving the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the New Jersey law protecting victims of sexual abuse or believe you may have been a victim and looking for justice, please contact Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor, LLC.
Our offices are strategically located throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.