WOODBURY NJ--David C. Thomas, age 41, of Glassboro NJ was found guilty January 25 of first-degree aggravated sexual assault on an 83-year-old woman in her Glassboro apartment on July 23, 2015.
A jury that deliberated about five hours also found Thomas guilty of simple assault but not guilty of aggravated assault, criminal sexual contact, terroristic threats or aggravated sexual assault with force or coercion.
The woman subsequently died of causes not directly related to the 12/14 incident but the jury in Thomas’s trial saw the video from a police officer’s body camera of her speaking about Thomas’ actions. In addition, a neighbor and several Glassboro police officers who responded to her apartment described her for jurors as distraught and disheveled with bruises and cuts on her arms.
Also presented by assistant Gloucester County prosecutors Dana Anton and Michael Mellon was Thomas’ recorded statement in which he claims the sexual encounter was consensual. Thomas himself testified to the same effect.
The woman opened her door to Thomas because he was familiar to her, AP Anton told the jury. Thomas was living with a family member in the apartment complex.
The Thomas prosecution was one of the first to involve the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Elder Abuse Unit. The unit, which includes a GCPO detective and an assistant county prosecutor, was organized in 2015 to investigate instances of physical, financial or emotional abuse of older persons and to educate senior groups about potential exploitation. Unit members teamed with Kennedy Hospital, Washington Township, Glassboro police investigators and a GCPO- supervised sexual assault nurse examiner as they cared for the victim.
“Elder abuse is an under-reported crime and this case sends a strong message that we will hold accountable those who prey upon and exploit our vulnerable citizens,” said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton.
After the verdict, Superior Court Judge Kevin T. Smith revoked Thomas’ $500,000 bail and deferred sentencing until Thomas is evaluated at the state’s Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel NJ to determine whether he is a repetitive and compulsive sex offender, which could determine where he will serve his sentence. The penalty for the first-degree crime of aggravated sexual assault is 10 to 20 years in state prison.
Thomas has been jailed in default of bail since his arrest the day of the incident.