Track coach from Jersey City, NJ inappropriately touched female athlete at meet in Toms River, NJ
A now former track coach from Jersey City is charged with multiple offenses by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office after he allegedly inappropriately touched a female high school track athlete who was competing in NJSIAA state sectionals in Toms River.
The incident took place on February 12, the same day that the NJSIAA Sectional Championships for Central Jersey Groups 1 & 4 and North 2 Group 1 & 4 were being run as part of a weekend of championship races at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Sports Complex (the bubble) outside of Toms River Intermediate East Middle School.
The girl told her coach that she was approached and then inappropriately touched by an adult man.
Her coach then reported the incident to law enforcement.
Toms River Police Detectives and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Special Victims Unit then investigated the incident and identified 61-year old Thomas Downes as the man who touched the female student-athlete in an inappropriate manner.
Downes was a physical education teacher at County Prep High School in Jersey City.
A spokesperson for the Hudson County Schools of Technology Board told Townsquare Media-Jersey Shore News on Monday that Downes is no longer employed by the district.
He taught for more than 20-years at County Prep High School in Jersey City teaching physical education and driver's education, according to New Jersey City University's athletic website, a school where he previously coached the men's and women's cross country teams.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced in a statement on Monday that Downes has been charged with Criminal Sexual Contact, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, for the incident that occurred in Toms River on February 12, 2022.
Downes surrendered himself to Toms River Police at their headquarters on Monday.
He was processed and released on a summons pending a future court appearance.
“If anyone has additional information or regarding this investigation, or who believes they might have been victimized by this defendant, please contact Detective Alex Bromley of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3271, or the Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau at 732- 349-0150, extension 1297,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in a written statement.