Former Monmouth County probation officer sentenced for sexual assault
A former Monmouth County probation officer is heading to prison for the next decade after being sentenced Thursday for sexually assaulting a woman he was supposed to be supervising on Drug Court probation and for making false representations to the Court, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.
Henry Cirignano, 48, of Wall Township, who was an 18-year veteran of the New Jersey State Probation Department in Monmouth, was sentenced by Ocean County Presiding Criminal Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Toms River.
As part of this sentence, Cirignano has to serve 6 years, 9 months and 20 days before becoming eligible for any release on parole.
He will also be subject to parole supervision for life, is required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and faces a lifetime ban on public employment in the State of New Jersey as well as forfeiture of his benefits.
Cirignano plead guilty on February 24, 2020 to three counts of second degree Sexual Assault by Coercion and one count of second degree Official Misconduct.
This came nearly a year after his arrest where he was charged with the sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office led an investigation and learned that between August 2016 and January 2019, Cirignano was engaging in sexual activity with the female probationer, while she was under his supervision.
The MCPO then determined that he misused his official position to conceal his illicit activities over that same period of time and charged him with a number of offenses including official misconduct.
Prosecutor Gramiccioni said Cirignano had also threatened to create false probation violations resulting in incarceration unless the victim provided sexual favors to him.
Cirignano also repeatedly lied to the Drug Court judge, Gramiccioni said, who was presiding over his victim’s case and lied as to why the victim didn't appear in court.
“Cirignano’s actions represent the worst type of predatory behavior,” Gramiccioni said in a statement. “He trampled upon the oath he took as a public servant, and abused his power by forcing the victim to provide sexual favors, extorting her with threats of incarceration if she refused. Thankfully, he will serve a significant jail sentence, be registered as a sex offender, and never hold a public job again.”
Cirignano has remained held in the Ocean County Correctional Institution since his arrest on February 4, 2019.
The case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Thomas Fichter and Kristen Anastos.
Cirignano is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., of Ocean Township.