By Harsh Godhani
Christopher Tarver (second from right), 46, of Jackson, a former Dunellen recreation director and former Middlesex County College men’s basketball coach, was recently convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage basketball player for two years and pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving two additional victims on Feb. 22.
Tarver pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct with the child, two counts of official misconduct and one count of engaging in a pattern of official misconduct, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor, Andrew C. Carey, reported by nj.com.
Under an open plea agreement reached with Assistant Prosecutor, Brian Shevlin, Tarver is facing a prison term of up to 25 years to run concurrent to the sentence he will receive for his 2017 trial conviction.
“As an open plea, there is no agreement as to the time he faces in state prison; that is left to the judge’s discretion,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement, reported by nj.com.
Tarver is scheduled to be sentenced in New Brunswick by State Superior Court Judge, Colleen Flynn, on May 4 for his plea agreement.
On Nov. 15, 2017, a Middlesex County jury found Tarver guilty of 20 sexual assault counts: eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of engaging in a pattern of official misconduct, one count of sexual assault, five counts of criminal sexual contact, four counts of official misconduct and one count of endangering the welfare of a child by possessing child pornography.
The charges of official misconduct stem from “having sexually explicit conversations and sending sexually explicit text messages to another individual and giving him marijuana and alcohol sometime between Oct. 1, 2012 and Oct. 31, 2013,” according to the prosecutor’s statement following his indictment in Jan. 2015.
Tarver sexually assaulted one minor on 16 different occasions between June 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011, with at least one of the assaults occurring in the sauna in the Physical Education Center at the Edison campus of Middlesex County College, according to Assistant Prosecutor, Brian Shevlin.
Tarver is facing a prison term of up to 50 years for the 2017 trial conviction, which will be sentenced in March 9, by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Colleen Flynn.
Tarver is still being investigated for sexual assault of another victim outside of the several already reported. However, there have been no statements about additional charges.
County officials began their investigation after one of the victims, now an adult, notified authorities. That victim was a member of the Monmouth Power Sports Club, a traveling basketball team affiliated with the AAU. Tarver had been the coach and executive director of the team since 1995.
All victims were between the ages of 15 and 20 during the time of their assault.
Tarver was employed as the recreation director in Dunellen in 2004, but was suspended from his position soon after he was arrested in 2014.
Tarver was also employed as a men’s basketball coach at Middlesex County College from Oct. 21, 2006 to March 5, 2014, and became the head coach on June 24, 2010.