Robert Melia Jr. was sworn to protect and serve, but a Burlington County jury found he abandoned that oath when he and his former girlfriend repeatedly molested teenagers in the home they shared in Moorestown.
The attacks, including a violent sexual assault on an incapacitated, bound and blindfolded teenager captured on video, took place just feet from where his Moorestown police uniform hung on his bedroom door.
The patrolman and his former girlfriend, Heather Lewis, a nursing assistant, preyed upon vulnerable teenage girls whom the couple brought to their residence to escape their difficult home lives, according to trial testimony.
The jury found Melia, 42, and Lewis, 36, of Pemberton Township, guilty of six counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault as well as multiple counts of sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child. They were also found guilty of invasion of privacy.
Their arrest in 2008 drew international headlines, and for good reason: He was a police officer indicted on charges of sexually assaulting three young girls, and engaging in a sex act with several cows.
But when the Moorestown cop renewed his certification as an emergency medical technician that fall, he checked “no” in the box asking whether he had ever been charged with a crime, and nobody questioned it. Despite being convicted of sexual abuse 4 months prior, Melia worked as a public servant again! This time, as a New Jersey EMT.
The atrocious unaccountability is common within the law enforcement arena. Senator Mark Warner just purported that the fast food industry conducts better background checks than the the TSA.
Just this week, The Free Thought Project covered the story of a Las Cruces Police Detective Michael Garcia, who had a history of secual misconduct, while on duty, and was still allowed to be alone with a teenage intern, who he then raped.