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He supervised court-ordered child visits. But he was preying on the mothers, NJ cops say

A former New Jersey family services worker pleaded guilty to misconduct after he coerced mothers into sex using his power to help them regain custody of their children, according to the state attorney general.
A former New Jersey family services worker pleaded guilty to misconduct after he coerced mothers into sex using his power to help them regain custody of their children, according to the state attorney general. New Jersey Attorney General

After losing custody of her young son, a New Jersey mother canceled two court-ordered visits in a row with the child — but it wasn’t because she didn’t want to see him.

It was because she didn’t want to be coerced — again — into having sex with the state worker supervising the visits, according to state prosecutors.

Lamont King, 41, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of official misconduct for coercing that woman and another mother into sex while he was supposed to be overseeing court-ordered visits with their kids, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said.

From March to April 2016, King was the New Jersey family services worker in Trenton who was responsible for taking one of the mothers to and from court-ordered visits with her child. The boy was in foster care, but the mother was working to get custody back, according to prosecutors. Reports that he wrote up on the mother and child’s interactions could influence the judge’s custody decisions.

By the time the mother began canceling visits to her son, King had made two unwanted sexual advances, prosecutors said. The first time, King told the mother “he wanted a relationship with her” — and after they dropped her child off at the foster home, he drove her to secluded woods, where he kissed, grabbed and groped her, according to the attorney general’s office.

The mother was “upset and angry.” But she didn’t report his behavior, knowing — as King allegedly told the mother — that his reports could make or break her chances at regaining custody, according to prosecutors.

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On the very next visit, it happened again, prosecutors said. This time, King took the mother to a Pennsylvania motel to have sex with her, where “she again felt like she had to do what King wanted because she feared that if she didn’t, she would not be able to get custody of her son,” according to prosecutors.

The mother later asked female state workers to supervise the court-ordered visits instead, and then reported the allegations against King to a caseworker in May, prosecutors said. That launched a state investigation into King’s behavior.

Attorney General Grewal said in a statement that it was “corrupt and deplorable” how King was “exploiting his authority and playing on their fears regarding their children.”

King will be sentenced in November. The state recommended he serve three years in prison.

After the mother reported King in 2016, he was suspended without pay and then was fired, prosecutors said. The second case of abuse, revealed during the investigation, had occurred in 2015.

King also told the mother he coerced in 2016 that “if she trusted him, he could make the visits go well and could recommend that the visits occur at a park or restaurant rather than a state office,” according to prosecutors.

King advised the mother not to say anything about the sex to the caseworker, prosecutors said.

In a civil lawsuit one of the mothers filed against King, which was obtained by the Trentonian, the mother said the abuse at King’s hand left her with panic attacks, depression and post-traumatic stress, the newspaper reports.

A federal lawsuit states that a Hancock County caseworker falsified documents, and the mother has photographic proof.

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