- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017

FLEMINGTON, N.J. (AP) - Four corrections officers at New Jersey’s only prison for women have been indicted on charges they sexually abused at least eight inmates over a period of two years, authorities announced Monday.

Jason Mays, Ahnwar Dixon, Brian Ambroise and Thomas Seguine all face counts of official misconduct and charges related to sexual abuse. Mays and Dixon are additionally charged with committing a pattern of official misconduct based on the number of accusers.

The indictments were handed up Thursday by a Hunterdon County grand jury and made public Monday.

The joint investigation involved the special victims unit of the county prosecutor’s office and the state Department of Corrections’ special investigations division, officials said. They did not disclose specific details on the allegations each man is facing.

“We have in our society a system of punishing those who violate our laws. And when imprisonment is the punishment, it is our correction officers that must carry out the duty of ensuring the welfare, safety and security of the inmates they are employed to supervise,” county Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III said. “All inmates have a right to be safe within the institutions where we as a society demand they be detained. All inmates should be free of sexual abuse regardless of their crime.”

Kearns would not say whether the cases were related but noted there appeared to be “some crossover” between the defendants and some of their accusers at the facility in Union Township.

In a related matter, Kearns also announced that a civilian worker at the jail has been sentenced to three years in state prison for having a sexual encounter with an additional victim.

Joel Herscap, 55, of Alpha, was an institutional trade instructor for the state Department of Corrections from September 2003 until he was arrested last May. He had pleaded guilty to official misconduct charges last October.

It wasn’t known Monday if any of the officers have retained attorneys. All four men have been released on bail, authorities said, and telephone numbers for them could not be located.

Mays, 43, of Hillside, was indicted on five counts of official misconduct, three counts of sexual assault and one count of a pattern of misconduct. Dixon, 38, of East Orange, was indicted on two counts of official misconduct and single counts of a pattern of misconduct and sexual assault.

Ambroise, 33, of Union, and Seguine, 34, of Philipsburg, each face single counts of official misconduct and sexual assault.

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