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New Jersey Guard Acquitted in Sex Scandal

The March 13, 2020, verdict by a Hunterdon County Superior Court jury resolves all of the criminal charges against Ambroise. He was charged in two other cases alleging he sexually assaulted prisoners. Prosecutors dropped charges in one case against Ambroise, 36, and in November 2018 a jury acquitted Ambroise in the second case.

The latest acquittal came in a case alleging Ambroise allowed two female prisoners into an area of the prison where guard Ronald Coleman allegedly sexually assaulted them. Coleman, 40, was scheduled to go to trial in May 2020 on charges that he sexually assaulted two women prisoners on separate occasions in 2015 and 2016.

Ambroise is the only guard to be acquitted in a sexual abuse scandal at the prison. It was uncovered as the result of a 2017 NJ Advance Media investigation that found a pattern of sexual exploitation and assault at the prison. Guards Thomas Seguine, Ahnwar Dixon, Joel Herscap, and Joel Mercado took plea deals while guard Jason Mays was convicted at trial. Mays was sentenced to 16 years in prison. [See PLN, April 2019, p. 40]. Herscap and Seguine received three year-prison terms. [See PLN, Dec. 2018, p. 44].

A class action lawsuit filed in July 2018 by Marianne Brown alleged she was subjected to sexual abuse while at the prison and that sexual harassment and assaults at the prison date back to 1997. It further alleged prison staff attempted to cover up at least 10 incidents of employee misconduct. [See: PLN, April 2019, p. 40].

Ambroise was “ecstatic” about the jury’s verdict, said his attorney, James Wronko. He said Ambrose looks forward to returning to work as a prison guard and that he may have to sue to receive earnings for nearly three and a half years of unpaid leave. “That’s a lot of lost wages,” he said.

A New Jersey Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Ambroise will have to go through an internal review process before he can return to work. In such cases, as PLN has reported, guards are typically returned to work and often promoted to supervisory positions as time passes. See: Owens v. Ambroise, Case No. 3:17-cv-07159, USDC (D.N.J.). 


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Related legal case

Owens v. Ambroise