It'll be five years in prison for a former Brigantine police officer, accused  of exploiting his position to sexual abuse a child.

According to acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton, Brigantine Police Officer Ralph M. Pereira, now 46, was arrested back on May 19, 2014, following an investigation by the Prosecutor's Special Victims Unit.

Here's more from the Prosecutor's Office:

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 woulOn Friday, December 16, 2016, Pereira appeared in Court before Judge Wild for sentencing.

Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer, who represented the State in the case, told the Court while delineating the aggravating factors of this crime prior to sentencing, that “this was a breach of the public trust,” and that, “there needs to be a message sent that there are severe consequences for a public servant who engages in these actions.”

Judge Wild sentenced Pereira to 5 years of incarceration in New Jersey State prison for Official Misconduct, to be ineligible for parole until he has served 2 years of the sentence, and to 5 years in prison for the Sexual Assault charge, the prison sentences to be served concurrently.

Judge Wild further ordered that Pereira will be subject to parole supervision for life and Megan’s Law registration for life, upon release from prison, and ordered that Pereira have no contact with the victim.

Upon completion of the sentence, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Officers took Pereira into custody, and escorted him from the courtroom.
d 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, as part of a negotiated plea agreement, Pereira pled guilty to 1 count each of Official Misconduct and Sexual Assault, before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild. The Court ordered the forfeiture of Pereira’s right to hold public office as a result of his conviction.

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