Western New Jersey

New sexual misconduct allegations at Hunterdon County women's prison

There are new accusations surrounding a women's prison in Hunterdon County, New Jersey already besieged by allegations of sexual misconduct by male corrections officers.

On Saturday, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office announced that another corrections officer at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility was arrested on sexual assault and official misconduct charges.

Ronald Coleman Jr. 39, of Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, is accused of having sexual relationships with three inmates.

The former senior corrections officer at the correctional facility is charged with 15 counts, including official misconduct and second-degree sexual assault, according to the prosecutor's office

Coleman had been employed there as a corrections officer since September 2000. He is in Northampton County Jail, awaiting extradition to New Jersey, according to the prosecutor's office.

The charges against Coleman are the latest in a string of misconduct allegations at the women's prison.

Six corrections officers and a trade instructor have so far been charged in the ongoing investigation. One officer and the instructor have pleaded guilty.

Last September, New Jersey lamwakers called for an overhaul at Edna Mahan in response to the sexual misconduct cases. They requested the state Attorney General conduct a "top-to-bottom review" of the Union Township facility in Hunterdon County to determine if a "substantial structural and cultural overall at the prison is warranted."

State Senate and Assembly leaders wrote a letter to the attorney general stating that the scope of allegations against the staff at the facility raises serious questions about the leadership on board as well as its commitment to protecting the female inmates' safety and welfare. 

Multiple inmates have filed lawsuits claiming they were sexually assaulted by guards.


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