Charles Cusack, a retired Ocean City police officer accused of criminal sexual contact with a young employee he supervised as a beach-tag inspector, will enter a not guilty plea when the time comes, according to the high-powered attorney representing him.
"A defense investigation is underway, and our plea is not guilty," wrote Louis Barbone, of the Jacobs and Barbone law firm in Atlantic City, in an email Thursday in response to a query by Ocean City Patch. "We're not in a position to comment further at this time. No discovery has been produced by the state to date."
Cusack, 49, was arrested in Ocean City about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, while on duty in his capacity as supervisor in the beach-tag office, city police said. He was in his second season in that post after retiring from OCPD in 2011.
Cusack was released after posting $150,000 bond. He was suspended from the beach-tag job pending outcome of the investigation, city officials said.
Police and Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor, whose Major Crimes Unit is handling the case, released a joint press release on Aug. 6 stating that Cusack, of Egg Harbor Township, is alleged to have had sexual contact with an individual between the ages of 16 and 18 over whom he had authority. A conviction for the second-degree offense carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
First Assistant Prosecutor Rob Johnson said on Friday that the office continues to investigate the case and would not comment beyond that.
Among a variety of civil and criminal cases, Barbone's clients include former Wildwood Mayor Gary DeMarzo, Margate City Clerk Tom Hiltner and Hamilton Township Deputy Mayor Charles Cain.
Cusack worked in Ocean City High School as a resource officer for two years before he retired from the Ocean City Police Department. He then was hired as a civilian hallway aide in January. His position was eliminated as of June 30, according to the school district's solicitor.
An Aug. 6 letter from Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Taylor to Ocean City High School parents and guardians assured them that the school had received no complaints involving Cusack while he was employed in the school, but it included information for parents to contact investigators if they had any additional information on the case.
The letter also noted the counselors are available to any student who may need support.