Scholastic Track Athlete Assaulted by Jersey City Coach at Toms River’s Bennett Sports Bubble

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – A Jersey City man has been arrested and charged by Toms River Police officers after allegedly touching a scholastic track athlete during a meet at the Bennett Indoor Sports Complex.

On Thursday, Thomas Downes, 61, of Jersey City, was charged with criminal sexual contact during the February 12th NJSIAA state indoor track championship meet.

“On February 12, 2022, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department were contacted in reference to an incident that occurred at the John Bennett Athletic Bubble in Toms River.  A minor female – who was a participant in a track meet taking place at the facility – reported that an adult male approached her and touched her inappropriately,” Toms River Police reported. “The victim reported the incident to her coach, who then reported the incident to law enforcement.  An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau identified Downes as the individual who touched the victim in an inappropriate manner.  At the time of the incident, Downes was the head coach of a girls’ track team at a high school located in Jersey City.”

On February 28, 2022, Downes surrendered himself to authorities at Toms River Township Police Department Headquarters.  He was processed and released on a summons pending a future court appearance, the department reported in a press release.

“If anyone has additional information or regarding this investigation, or who believes they might have been victimized by this defendant, please contact Detective Alex Bromley of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3271, or the Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau at 732- 349-0150, extension 1297,” Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer stated.