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18 in Atlantic County had public employment when arrested

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Eighteen people have been identified as in positions of public trust when arrested, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday.

The defendants include seven teachers and three police officers.

"The residents of Atlantic County trust that those who are in these positions will serve honorably," a release from the office read. "We are extremely fortunate that most do. However, when someone serving in such a position falls short of their oath, it is necessary they be held accountable for their actions."

The following were either public officials or a position of public trust at the time of their alleged offenses.

Atlantic City Police Detective Fariyd Holmes was charged in October with second-degree eluding for allegedly running a traffic stop and then claiming someone else was driving his vehicle.

Ventnor Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Calderon, who lives in Egg Harbor Township, allegedly stole more than $91,000 from her city of employment and tried to cover it up. She is charged with official misconduct and theft.

Atlantic County Justice Facility Sgt. Fred Gilbert allegedly hid contraband found on an inmate, and ordered a junior officer to cover it up. He is charged with official misconduct, witness tampering, obstruction, false reporting to law enforcement authorities and tampering with physical evidence.

Marc Snead, a youth service worker at Harborfields Juvenile Facility, allegedly provided contraband to juvenile offenders housed there. He is charged with official misconduct.

Corie Pittman was working for the Atlantic County Department of Family and Community Development when he and two alleged accomplices were accused of stealing an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. He is charged with official misconduct and theft.

Laurie Montgomery was a Citizen of the Year in Linwood. The treasurer of the Linwood Parent Teacher Organization and Linwood Street Hockey Association is now accused of stealing from community groups.

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Atlantic City Police Officer Luquay DuBose faces a theft charge for allegedly spending about $35,000 worth of a $100,000 check mistakenly deposited into his bank account.

Roger Tees, the then-deputy director of Emergency Management for Somers Point, allegedly possessed and shared images of child sexual abuse.

Suzanne Ricketts, who was a civilian working payroll for the Atlantic City Police Department, is accused of padding her payroll hours for more than $3,300.

Atlantic City High School teacher Joseph Scalfaro allegedly had a sexual relationship with a student. He is charged with official misconduct, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact.

Pete Thompson, a former local broadcaster, sexually harassed students while teaching at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, according to charges he faces that include official misconduct and endangering.

Atlantic County Justice Facility Officer Geraldo Oquendo is charged with official misconduct and providing an inmate with an electronic device.

Vineland Police Sgt. Christopher Ortiz allegedly had several images of children engaged in sexual acts.

Gregory Sykora, chairman of the Somers Point Economic Development Commission, is accused of a fire set to coverup a home invasion. He faces witness tampering, obstruction and hindering charges.

Khadeja Wiley, who worked as a substitute teacher in Atlantic County, is charged with aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

Pamela Thomas, a teacher at the Atlantic County Special Services School, is accused of striking a 9-year-old nonverbal autistic student on the head. She was arrested by a school resource officer and charged with fourth-degree assault and third-degree endangering.

Richard Jacoby, who worked as a substitute teacher, is charged with aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. He punched a Margate officer responding to a mental health crisis, according to the charges.

Chelsy Combs, a teacher at Cape May Vocational Technical School, was accused of possession of a weapon and terroristic threats. She pleaded Monday, and will be accepted into pretrial intervention.

“We completely understand the need for the public to have confidence in the Prosecutor’s Office in making these difficult decisions and prosecuting those that breach the public’s trust," Prosecutor William Reynolds said. "The foundation of a just society lies in the unwavering commitment to uphold the law, applying it equitably and without bias, transcending political affiliation, religion, race, creed, and gender.

"The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office has an obligation as the Chief Law Enforcement Agency to do justice, he continued. "We will continue to strive to meet the highest standard every day and hold those who fail to meet that standard accountable."
Anyone with information regarding serious criminal activity, including official misconduct, are asked to contact the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at ACPO.Tips (http://www.acpo.tips/) and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page.

author

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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