Sex assault charges lodged

BY JOYCE BLAY Staff Writer

Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department has apprehended a suspect in the Oct. 3 rape of a woman in the Seagull Square Plaza.

The arrest was made on Oct. 14.

According to Chief Jeff Thompson of the sheriff’s office and Lt. Jeffrey Harper of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the victim was at the shopping center at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 when she was abducted at knife point by a suspect who was later identified as James L. Calhoun.

They said Calhoun forced the woman to drive him in her car out of the shopping center. She was eventually told to stop the car and was then raped and robbed. Calhoun allegedly made her drive around Ocean County before demanding she drop him off at a development in Lakewood. After the woman let her attacker out, she called police. She was treated and released at an unspecified hospital, said Harper.

Thompson said that an Oct. 14 article appearing in a local newspaper tipped off his department that Calhoun, a fugitive who was wanted on a charge of sexual battery and abduction in Virginia, was now in Lakewood.

“I read the article about 6 a.m. in my office, passed it onto our warrant division and within four hours after our teams were alerted he was in the Lakewood area, he was under arrest,” Thompson said.

Thompson said his office had been notified on Aug. 20 that Calhoun was a wanted fugitive by authorities in Virginia.

“He had several addresses that included Seaside Heights, Lakewood, Freehold and Asbury Park,” said Thompson. “He has family in this area, that’s why he was believed to be back in [New Jersey].”

Sheriff’s detectives Ronald Palmieri and Robert Trainor arrested Calhoun on Oct. 14 at 1:59 p.m. at a house on Finchley Boulevard. He was charged with kidnapping, carjacking, robbery and aggravated sexual assault.

Thompson said Palmieri and Trainor are also assigned to the marshal’s task force. Sheriff’s Sgt. Bernard Lettman and Sgt. William Zychowski assisted Palmieri and Trainor in making the arrest, along with Monmouth County Sheriff’s Detective David Wentworth.

Calhoun was placed in the Ocean County jail, Toms River. A bail of $500,000 was set on the charges he faces in Ocean County, but Thompson said Calhoun also has a detainer on the charges he fled in Virginia. Even if Calhoun makes bail in Ocean County, he would not be released until he answers the charges in Virginia.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department participates in the U.S. Marshal’s New York-New Jersey regional fugitive task force and has representatives in the Atlantic City and Trenton offices. It is independent of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, said Thompson.

Thompson said the New Jersey charges would take precedence over those Calhoun still faces in Virginia.

“We have the body, so we have jurisdiction,” he said. “Criminal proceedings will [therefore] commence in New Jersey first. He would be turned over to Virginia after he served any time to which he was sentenced after trial in New Jersey.”