Monmouth County probation officer pleads guilty to sexual assault
A former Monmouth County probation officer has plead guilty to intimidating and sexually assaulting a woman he was supposed to be supervising on probation, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.
Henry Cirignano, 48, of Wall Township was arrested in February of last year and charged with sexually assaulting the 23-year old woman on and off for three years, between 2016 and 2019, while she was under his supervision.
Investigators also learned that Cirignano also misused his official position to conceal his illicit activities over that period of time.
He also threatened the woman to give him sexual favors or he said he would create false probation violations.
Gramiccioni said that Cirignano’s sexual assaults upon the victim were frequent and repetitive.
Cirignano also repeatedly lied to the Drug Court judge presiding over his victim’s case providing false excuses for the victim’s failure to appear in court.
The 18-year veteran of the New Jersey State Probation in the Vicinage of Monmouth, entered a plea of guilty to three counts of second degree Sexual Assault by Coercion and one count of second degree Official Misconduct before Ocean County Presiding Criminal Court Judge Wendel Daniels in Toms River.
Under the plea agreement, the State has agreed to recommend a sentence of 8 years New Jersey state prison with a six years and 9-month period of parole ineligibility, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.
The plea will also subject Cirignano to Parole Supervision for Life and require him to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
In pleading guilty to Official Misconduct, Cirignano faces a mandatory sentence of at least five years but no more than 10 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole, a lifetime ban on public employment in the State of New Jersey, and forfeiture of his benefits.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for April 17, 2020, in Ocean County Superior Court.
“These were heinous acts perpetrated by Mr. Cirignano. The defendant used his position of authority to intimidate his victim into providing sexual favors, believing he was entitled to dangle a jail cell over her head to get what he wanted,” Gramiccioni said.
Cirignano has remained held in the Ocean County Correctional Institution since his arrest on February 4, 2019.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Thomas Fichter and Kristen Anastos.
Cirignano is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., of Ocean Township.
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