An Egg Harbor City man charged in the sexual assaults of two young girls seven years apart was ordered held in jail Monday.
Avis allegedly snuck into the sleeping girl’s bedroom July 19, 1996, and assaulted her. The girl’s mother, who was asleep on the couch, woke up to noises coming from her daughter’s bedroom, and then saw a man she didn’t know flee, according to the report.
Since his arrest, Avis has become the prime suspect in multiple ongoing investigations, Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer told the judge Monday.
Avis is accused of breaking into the little girl’s room, taking down her pants and underwear, and rubbing her hip and buttocks before he was interrupted and fled, according to the charges.
A fingerprint found on the window ties Avis to the case, the affidavit states.
In arguing for Avis’ release, defense attorney John Zarych argued that the only evidence is scientific, and that his client would not be the first defendant tied to a case by what could end up being faulty evidence.
He noted that Avis, who has a wife and 10-year-old son, did not flee even after a buccal swab was taken this past July.
But Flammer noted that such evidence often takes weeks to come back, alleging Avis could have thought he had time. Instead, the DNA was processed within hours, and Avis was arrested the next day.
Judge Donna Taylor found Avis to be a danger to society, and ordered him to remain in the Atlantic County Justice Facility pending the outcome of his cases.
“The conduct was predatory and raises concerns as to how this defendant knew a 10-year-old and 5-year-old resided in the homes and exactly where their bedrooms were,” the judge said.
She noted that, with their attacker not caught, the young girls “had to be concerned the defendant would return and could again invade what was supposed to be the safety of their own homes.
Avis could be tied to other similar crimes as well, as investigators continue to look into older cases.
The Brigantine case was one of more than a dozen reports in the town over the summers of 1995 and 1996, including attempted sexual assaults of two teenage girls, and several other reports of voyeuristic behavior.
Brigantine Detective Sgt. Jack Glasser is credited with reopening the case this past January, seeing it as solvable using current DNA technology.