NEWARK, NJ (Essex County) – A Randolph Township man was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault by conduct and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II.
Kenneth Palmer, 22, a paraprofessional at Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison, seven of which are subject to the No Early Release Act, for masturbating in the hallways of the school and taking an inappropriate photograph of a student, Stephens said.
Palmer was arrested on Sept. 28, 2017 at the Sucasunna ShoRite on a different case and during that investigation by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities discovered videos on his phone of him masturbating in front of children, Stephens said.
It was later determined the conduct took place in the hallways of Jefferson school, where he was employed. He also took an “upskirt” photo of a little girl at the same school. It was unclear whether children saw his conduct, but the law does not require that they observe him, Stephens said.
Palmer was charged in Essex County with sexual assault for engaging in an act of criminal sexual contact with himself in view of children younger than 12, Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Freier said.
Palmer entered a guilty plea on Oct. 15, 2018 on multiple counts of sexual assault by conduct and one count of endangering the welfare of a child for taking the “upskirt” image of the child.
“New Jersey law protects children under the age of 13 from being subjected to sexual contact like this, regardless of whether they saw or understood it,” Freier said.