By Michael Williams
SALEM — Former Salem County Corrections Officer Robert E. Sanders was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison today for sexually assaulting a juvenile aged girl.
Sanders, 41, of Quinton Township, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Timothy Farrell to 15 years in jail on two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, and an additional five years for second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Under the sentence, Sanders must served at least 85-percent of his 15 year sentence — or roughly 12 years and 9 months — followed by a full five year sentence, said Farrell.
Sanders was accused in March 2010 of performing two acts of sexual penetration on a 13-old-girl on separate dates between August 2009 and March 2010.
The assaults took place in Quinton Township, during which Sanders “engaged in sexual conduct that debauched the morals of a child,” court records state.
He was charged with a total of two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree criminal contact. New Jersey State Police arrested Sanders on the charges in March 2010.
Sanders’ trial began in September and lasted roughly two weeks, with a jury finding him guilty on all charges on Oct. 4, according to court officials.
In sentencing, Farrell said Sanders will serve a maximum of 15 years for his two first-degree offenses, followed by a separate five year sentence for his second-degree offenses.
“I find that count three is a separate offense, subject to a separate sentence,” said Farrell.
The charge of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact was absorbed under the Sanders’ first degree offenses and dismissed for sentencing, said Farrell.
Sanders will also receive credit for the roughly 1,000 days he has already served in prison, which will be applied toward his sentence.
According to Ray Skradzinski, warden of the correctional facility, Sanders was hired as a county corrections officer on Dec. 16, 2002 and placed on administrative suspension without pay following the charges.
Skradzinski said Sanders is currently pending termination from his position.
Sanders also faces fines and restrictions under Megan’s Law and Nicole’s Law as part of his sentencing.