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Press Release

Newark, New Jersey, Corrections Officer Convicted Of Sexual Abuse Of Detainee

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A former corrections officer with the Essex County Correctional Facility was convicted today by a federal jury for sexually assaulting a pretrial detainee and then lying about it to investigators, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Shawn D. Shaw, 43, of Newark, was convicted of both counts of an indictment charging him with depriving an individual of rights under color of law and obstruction of justice. He was convicted following a seven-day trial before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated for two days before returning the guilty verdict. Judge Salas revoked the defendant’s bail and ordered him into custody following the verdict.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Shaw was the only officer on duty in the female unit during the night of a snow blizzard on Dec. 28, 2010. During the night, Shaw made sexually explicit comments to the victim. Although she rejected his advances, records show that in the middle of the night, Shaw opened the victim’s cell door. The victim testified that Shaw entered her cell, and despite her saying “stop” and “no,” Shaw raped her. Expert testimony, including DNA analysis, corroborated the victim’s testimony that Shaw was her assailant.

When investigators questioned Shaw about the attack, he lied and intentionally omitted information from his statement in order to obstruct the investigation. Specifically, Shaw falsely stated that he did not make sexual comments to the detainee or enter the victim’s cell.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Campi in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s verdict. He also thanked the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray, for its assistance.

The charge of deprivation of rights under color of law carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison. The obstruction of justice count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for May 16, 2016.

The government is represented by Criminal Division Chief Thomas Eicher and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana Chen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, with assistance from Trial Attorney Shan Patel of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Defense counsel: Mark A. Fury Esq., Mount Holly                                                                                                                          

Updated February 24, 2016

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 16-034