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Ex-Ocean City lifeguard indicted in 2017 rape of teen rookie

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A former Ocean City lifeguard named repeatedly in sexual misconduct allegations has been indicted in the 2017 rape of a then-16-year-old rookie.

Jonathan C. Howell, now 41, was a teacher in Pleasantville, the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office said when he was arrested last year.

He was 36 years old in 2017, when he allegedly got the girl drunk and then sexually assaulted her.

Howell brought the girl and another teen to an unnamed witness's apartment, where they all consumed alcohol, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The girl told detectives she "woke up to the room spinning and Howell standing in between her legs removing a condom, saying, 'You're amazing,' " the affidavit states.

The girl was wearing only her shirt, with her panties at her ankles, she told investigators.

The alleged crime was discovered after an Instagram account posted claims of longtime sexual misconduct within the Ocean City Beach Patrol went public April 14, 2021.

Within days, there were 160 posts, with many sharing their own experiences on the beach patrol.

Howell was arrested June 2, 2022.

At that time, about 30 recorded interviews had been conducted regarding the sexual misconduct, the detective wrote in the affidavit.

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"Claims of sexual harassment, sexual comments, sexual contact, sexual assault, providing alcohol/controlled dangerous substances to minors and failure to properly address complaints were reported," the detective wrote. "Jonathan Howell was repeatedly named throughout this investigation as someone who engaged in this behavior."

A grand jury indicted Howell on Tuesday, on charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and official misconduct, and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

He is not jailed at this time.


Lynda Cohen

BreakingAC founder who previously worked in newspapers for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.




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