OCEAN CITY — A former teacher and lifeguard accused of sexually harassing underage members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol was sentenced to probation Thursday.

The allegations were made anonymously in 2021 on an Instagram page filled with over 100 stories of sexual harassment and hazing by members in their 30s and 40s taking advantage of 16-and-17-year-old females. The administrator of the site said she removed names before posting submissions.

There were frequent mentions of drugs and alcohol, teen guards being sexualized and the teens waking up not aware of what happened the night before. The allegations were investigated by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.

Former OCBP member and Pleasantville teacher Jonathan Howell, 42, was charged in June 2022. He was indicted in January 2023 on first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, second-degree official misconduct, and two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

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Chris Coleman, Townsquare Media NJ
Chris Coleman, Townsquare Media NJ

Guilty plea

The resident of the Mamora section of Upper Township pleaded guilty to second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to four years probation. He must also forfeit any future public employment.

According to 6ABC Action News, an affidavit of probable cause said that Howell was accused of giving alcohol to a 16-year-old girl and then sexually assaulting her.

At the time of the summer 2017 incident, Howell was a senior guard who supervised the victim, the same report said.

Previous reporting by Erin Vogt was used in this report

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