DOYLESTOWN — The Bucks County District Attorney's office has announced charges against a former police officer in Warminster Township, who also worked briefly in North Wales, for alleged sexual abuse.
James Carey, 52, was arrested and charged Wednesday with sexually abusing four teenage boys he met while working as a D.A.R.E. officer, according to the Bucks DA's office.
"A police officer’s creed is to protect and serve his community," Bucks District Attorney Matt Weintraub said in a statement.
"In a perverse and criminal dereliction of his duty, James Carey instead took advantage of his power and credibility while on the job as a police officer to sexually abuse our community’s most vulnerable: our children," he said.
According to the Bucks DA's office, Carey worked as an officer for the North Wales Police Department from June to August 1988, and for the Warwick Township Police Department from July 1988 to May 1989, before joining the Warminster Township police department from 1989 to 2009.
The DA's office alleges that Carey used his position as a D.A.R.E. officer at the Centennial School District to gain access to teenagers.
"Carey ingratiated himself into the lives of minor children, in particular, those who were already facing challenges in their lives," according to the presentment.
"He used his position and authority to groom, not only the children, but their adult caregivers. The grooming tactics he used were pervasive, manipulative and calculated such that he not only lowered the minor’s guard but also attempted to provide an assurance that his crimes would go unreported and if reported, not believed," according to the DA's office.
D.A.R.E. officers typically worked within the school districts, teaching younger kids about drug abuse and how to say no to drugs. However, this investigation found several instances of Carey allowing minors to drink, smoke and do drugs around him.
"The evidence established during this investigative process indicates that Carey has engaged in the sexual abuse of children in his care from 1988-2000. However, there were countless minors in his care that span the entire duration of his employment with Warminster Township, who remain unidentified due to the lack of, or incomplete record keeping," the DA's office alleged.
In addition, Carey worked with the Warminster Police Teen Activity Corps where he supervised teens at the township’s Rec Center and took teenage boys on overnight camping trips, ran the Fire Explorers program for the Warminster Township Fire Department and volunteered with the local Boy Scouts.
Bucks County detectives initially investigated Carey in 2001 after Warminster Township police received a report that he had inappropriate contact with a boy, who was 17 at the time. Due to the age of consent being 16 and due to not having full information about what had happened, no charges were filed in 2001.
However, the District Attorney in 2001, Diane Gibbons, wrote a letter to the Warminster Township Police Department that advised that Carey’s behavior and conduct was very concerning. Gibbons, now a Bucks County Common Pleas Judge, advised that while criminal charges could not be filed, her office had grave concerns about the safety of the community with Carey being employed as a police officer with the Warminster Township Police Department.
Carey remained with the police department until 2005 when he was fired at the rank of a sergeant, for reasons unrelated to his inappropriate contact with minors. Through arbitration, he got his job back in December 2006, at a demoted rank of corporal. While he was fired, Carey worked at the Driftwood Campground in Cape May County, New Jersey, where he also lived.
In September of 2006, Carey was the focus of a New Jersey State Police investigation for inappropriate conduct with minors at that campground. No charges were filed. Because the arbitration decision was binding, Warminster Township police had no choice but to hire Carey back. He was removed from patrol duties and did not do any other sort of police work, ultimately reaching a retirement settlement with the Warminster Police in May of 2009.
The settlement included a nondisclosure order. The investigation was renewed last spring when one of the victims reported his sexual abuse to the Warminster Township Police Department, who referred the case to Bucks County Detectives.
That victim, now 36, coming forward sparked a nearly yearlong investigation by county detectives where they tracked down and interviewed victims, their parents and dozens of others who knew or had suspicions of Carey’s inappropriate conduct from his time as a police officer.
According to the DA's office, Carey is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and official oppression. He faces a total of 122 counts, was taken into custody on Wednesday and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Maggie Snow who sent him to Bucks County Correctional Facility under $100,000 bail.