Former Lodi NJ Reality TV Star facing statutory rape trial in Hackensack
Jury selection began last week at the Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey for the 34-year old former reality TV star charged with the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl. According to the Bergen Record article, the Lodi man is famous for his VH1 reality show “Love and Hip Hop” and is charged with sexually molesting a 15-year-old girl between September 2009 and April 2010. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, and endangering the welfare of a child. He faces up to 20 years in New Jersey State prison if convicted. The Defendant owns Beat Factory studio in New York and manages several New York city based rappers. Opening statements are scheduled for January 29.
The age of consent in New Jersey is sixteen (16) so the 15-year-old victim could not consent to any sexual activity in this case (although it appears from the article that there is no allegation of force).
Second degree sexual assault is a criminal offense in New Jersey governed by N.J.S. 2C:14-2 which provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:14-2. Sexual Assault.
b. An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
c. An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
(1) The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
(2) The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status;
(3) The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
(a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
(b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
(c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
(4) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
It appears that subsection (4) is applicable here as the victim was 15 years old and the Defendant was more than four (4) years older than the victim. If convicted of this sexual assault offense, the Defendant faces five (5) to ten (10) years in prison and Megan’s Law registration.