2008-03-10 Un policier et sa petite amie font l'objet de 45 accusations de viols de filles et de vaches (EN)

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Cop, girlfriend faces 45 charges of sexual assault on girls, cows


By JACK KNARR , Staff Writer

MOUNT HOLLY - Young girls. A young boy. Cows!

All of these were listed by authorities as the victims of alleged sexual assaults on which suspended Moorestown police Patrolman Robert Melia Jr. and his girlfriend, Heather Lewis, were indicted yesterday by a Burlington County grand jury.

If convicted on all 57 counts, the two could spend the rest of their lives behind bars, Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi said.

Melia, 38, of the 100 block Cottage Avenue, Moorestown, and Lewis, 33, of the 200 block Stockton's Bridge Road in Pemberton, were indicted together on 45 various charges of sexual assault involving three underaged females between June 2000 and January 2006, said Joel Bewley, Bernardi's spokesman.

Police were alerted to what was allegedly going on after one of the girls told her stepfather that Melia and Lewis had been assaulting her for years in Melia's home. Using a search warrant, detectives found pornography on Melia's computer. He was suspended as a cop, and he and Lewis were arrested.

Then investigators heard about the cows.

Animal cruelty charges were filed two weeks later.

Together, the two defendants face 11 counts of aggravated sexual assault (first degree) and one count in the second degree, four counts of aggravated criminal sexual (third degree), eight counts of criminal sexual contact (fourth degree), one count of endangering the welfare of a child (first degree) and five counts of third degree, one count of invasion of privacy (third degree), and 14 counts of sexual assault (second degree).

Advertisement Melia alone was indicted on four counts of cruelty to animals in the fourth degree for the alleged fellatio with farm cows in 2006 in Southampton Township. Plus he was indicted on one count of endangering the welfare of a child (fourth degree) and one count of official misconduct (second degree).

And Lewis was indicted alone on one count of criminal sexual assault (fourth degree), two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of sexual assault in the second degree.

The prosecutor said that due to the nature of the charges, no further information will be released. The two will be arraigned soon in Superior Court here. Melia remains free on $410,000 bail, while Lewis is locked up in lieu of $300,000 bail.

Call Bernardi's office at (609) 265-5879 if you have information on the case.