Becker to Plead Not Guilty

By Bill Greenwood
Cranbury Press
June 22, 2007

Ex-priest and president of the Jamesburg Historical Society to be arraigned today

Jamesburg — A 62-year-old Helmetta man who has served as president of the Jamesburg Historical Society will be arraigned today (Friday) in state Superior Court in Middlesex County on one count of second-degree sexual assault.

Ronald Becker, of Raintree Court, could face between five and 10 years in prison if convicted, according to Nicole Albert, an assistant prosecutor at the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office who is handling the case. Mr. Becker was indicted May 16.

Stephen Philpitt, a Jamesburg attorney who is representing Mr. Becker, said he is planning to fight the charge.

"We basically assert that he's 100 percent not guilty," Mr. Philpitt said.

Mr. Becker declined to comment for this story.

Mr. Becker was arrested March 28 by Jamesburg police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit after a month-long investigation. He is accused of sexually assaulting a female family member more than 20 years ago when she was between the ages of 3 and 7.

There is no statute of limitations in New Jersey for sexual-assault cases, according to Ms. Albert.

Mr. Becker was released March 29 from the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center after posting $50,000 bail, Ms. Albert said. Under the provisions of his bail, Mr. Becker is not allowed to have any direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim and must not have any unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16.

"Both of those are standard bail provisions," Ms. Albert said.

Mr. Becker was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1973, with his last assignment being in the Diocese of Trenton. In 2002, the diocese removed his faculties, prohibiting him from functioning as a priest, according to a March statement from the diocese. He had not had a church assignment since 1989, and neither the victim nor her immediate family were parishioners of a church that Mr. Becker was assigned to during his tenure, according to the diocese.

Mr. Becker is a member of several Jamesburg civic organizations, including the Jamesburg High School Alumni Association. He currently is on a leave of absence from the Jamesburg Historical Society, where he has served as president, according to Mr. Philpitt, who is the society's vice president.

"The association felt that because of his legal problems he shouldn't be in a high position until they're resolved," he said.


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