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EHC man jailed in 1996 Brigantine sex assault faces new charges in 2003 Galloway case

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An Egg Harbor City man jailed in the 1996 sexual assault of a young Brigantine girl is now charged with sneaking into a young Galloway Township girl's bedroom in 2003.
Brian Lee Avis, 59, was set to have a detention hearing Wednesday on charges including aggravated sexual assault in the sexual assault of the then-10-year-old inside her bedroom 25 years ago.
Instead, Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer notified the judge that Avis would be receiving new charges Wednesday in Galloway Township case.
Avis is now accused of entering the bedroom of a then-5-year-old Galloway girl on July 18, 2003, pulling down her underpants and smacking her on the buttocks and hips, according to the affidavit of probable cause obtained by BreakingAC.
State Police investigating the 1996 case notified Galloway police on Monday that a fingerprint taken from the window where the intruder entered and exited matched Avis.
The detention hearing set for the 1996 case had been postponed as a result, after Flammer and defense attorney John Zarych met to discuss it.
Avis was first arrested this July 13, after DNA evidence matched evidence left behind during the July 19, 1996, sexual assault.
Avis allegedly broke into the girl's Brigantine home while she was sleeping in her bed. She woke up during the assault, and the suspect fled.
It 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. But news articles from that time show the incidents were not made public until after the suspect succeeded in getting inside a home and committing an assault.
"Since early June, a man has fondled four teen-age girls as they slept in their unlocked homes," The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted then-Brigantine Police Capt. William Ferris saying during a July 24, 1996 press conference.
While it was days after the young girl's assault, no mention was made of that the suspect had committed sexual assault.
"Although the victims have not been seriously harmed, Ferris said, the recent assaults have become progressively worse in nature, although he would not elaborate," the Inquirer reporter wrote. "Police believe this molester also may be responsible for seven similar assaults last summer (of 1996) because they occurred in the same area, Ferris said."
Then, this past January, Brigantine Detective Sgt. Jack Glasser identified this as a case that could be solved with current DNA technology, Police Chief Rich Casamento said.
Just days after the 25th anniversary of the attack, detectives submitted the DNA to a private laboratory for analysis.
The laboratory conducted Microarray Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms testing for IGG analysis in an attempt to identify genetic relatives.
A warrant for Avis' DNA led to his arrest last Monday
He is now scheduled for a detention hearing next Monday.
Avis remains in the Atlantic County Justice Facility until then.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant John Glasser of the Brigantine Police Department at (609)266-7600 ext. 276 or Detective Sgt. First Class Joseph Itri of the New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit at (833) 4NJ-COLD. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Sunday, May 19, 2024
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