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Independence Twp. man sexually assaulted child, woman failed to stop it, prosecutor says

INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Warren County) – A Independence Township man sexually assaulted a child multiple times, and a woman who observed the abuse failed to stop it, according to Warren County Prosecutor Richard Burke.

Thomas Strait, 34, of Johnson Road in Independence Township was charged on June 2 with three counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, child under the age of 13, sexual assault by contact, and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

Cody Ringwald, 33, who lives with Strait, was charged on June 4 with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, child under the age of 13, as an accomplice, sexual assault by contact as an accomplice, and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child as an accomplice.

Strait allegedly committed multiple acts of sexual penetration upon a child, when the child was under the age of 13. It’s also alleged he committed sexual assault by contact with the child, Burke said.

Ringwald allegedly observed Strait commit acts of sexual penetration upon the child and failed to prevent the commission of these offenses when she had a legal duty to do so, Burke said.

The child was known to Strait and Ringwald, Burke said.

Both are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Tuesday, June 11, and are currently lodged in the Warren County Correctional Facility, Burke said.

The investigation was conducted by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Independence township Police Department.

If convicted of aggravated sexual assault, both could face life in prison under the Jessica Lunsford Act. The sexual assault by contact and endangering the welfare of a child are each punishable up to ten years in state prison. All of these crimes are subject to Megan’s Law registration and parole supervision for life, Burke said.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo: Courtesy Independence Township Police)

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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