MAYS LANDING – A Brigantine police officer pled guilty Friday to charges connected to the exploitation of his position as a police officer in order to sexually assault a child, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
An investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, assisted by the Brigantine Police Department, resulted in the arrest on May 19, 2014, of Brigantine Police Officer Ralph M. Pereira, now 45, of the 5000 block of Ontario Avenue, Brigantine, NJ. Pereira was arrested without incident in Brigantine, and charged with five (5) indictable offenses: Official Misconduct, 2 counts of Sexual Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child—all crimes of the 2nd degree—and Criminal Sexual Contact, a 4th degree crime.
The charges specified that Pereira committed acts related to his office that constituted unauthorized use of his official position as a police officer in order to obtain a benefit for himself, specifically sexual acts with a child. The State alleges that, while performing his official duties, Pereira committed the acts against a 16-year-old female victim.
Pereira was lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of $100,000 cash bail, set by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Donna M. Taylor. Pereira made his initial appearance in Atlantic County Superior Court on May 20, 2014, and was released from jail after posting bail the following day.
On August 25, 2015, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Pereira on seventeen (17) criminal counts, including:
- 8 counts of Official Misconduct for both unauthorized acts and non-performance of duties,
- Engaging in a Pattern of Official Misconduct,
- 2 counts of Sexual Assault,
- 2 counts of Criminal Sexual Contact, and
- 4 counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child for engaging in conduct which would impair the morals of a child, causing harm that would make the victim an abused child, photographing the child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or simulation, and possessing nude video and photographs of the victim.
Friday, May 20, 2016, Pereira pled guilty to Official Misconduct and Sexual Assault. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, Pereira will serve 5 years of incarceration in New Jersey State prison for Official Misconduct, with a period of parole ineligibility of 2 years. On the Sexual Assault count, Pereira will serve 5 years in prison, to be served concurrently.
Further, Pereira will be subject to Megan’s Law sex offender registration and parole supervision for life upon release from prison.
Pereira is scheduled to appear before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild on July 1, 2016 for sentencing.
Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer represents the State in the case.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.