A former Warren County sheriff accused of molesting a 10-year-old boy decades ago is scheduled to stand trial July 20.
A judge scheduled the date during a hearing in which the accuser and a relative chastised the ex-sheriff in open court after he declined to accept a guilty plea.
Edward Bullock, 86, who now lives in Ocean County, opted for the trial after rejecting a plea offer of eight years in prison Tuesday in state Superior Court in Flemington.
Bullock — who was present for the hearing in a wheelchair — was indicted last year on three counts each of aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault. Prosecutors say he began sexually abusing the boy in December 1986 and the abuse continued for more than a year.
Bullock, who remains free on $100,000 bail, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and rejected a prior plea offer that called for seven years in state prison.
The former sheriff could face up to 90 years in prison if convicted, Judge Angela Borkowski said.
The prosecution’s most recent plea offer called for Bullock to plead guilty to one count of aggravated sexual assault for a recommended eight-year sentence, and one count of sexual assault with a five-year prison term to run at the same time.
When asked by the judge if he wanted to proceed to trial, Bullock — who was wearing headphones to hear the proceedings — said “Yes, definitely.”
A man in the back of the courtroom, later identified by a relative as a victim, audibly cursed at Bullock.
“It’s a travesty it got this far,” the relative later said after meeting with county sheriff’s officers outside the courtroom. “It altered his life and everyone around him.”
As Bullock was wheeled out of the courtroom, the relative pointed at his eyes, then at Bullock.
The case was transferred in November to Hunterdon County due to an undisclosed conflict with Warren County’s criminal division judge. When the case was introduced in Flemington in April, attorney Brian Corley White said the defense was evaluating Bullock for his competency to stand trial. There was no issue with the evaluation Tuesday.
The trial is expected to last four days, with the prosecution expecting to present its case in three days and the defense in one, the judge said.
Both White and Warren County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael McDonald said they are ready to proceed.
Civil suits on sex abuse allegations are also pending against the former sheriff.
Full article here: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/warren-county/express-times/index.ssf/2015/06/ex-warren_county_sheriff_to_stand_trial_on_child_molestation_charges.html