NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - An attorney for the now former New Brunswick Middle School coach and paraprofessional who is charged with having repeated sexual contact with a teenage student on school grounds wants to have a psychiatrist treat his client.
Eugene Colbert, 31, of South River, a former employee and coach at the Middle School, is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl. He is also charged with second-degree sexual assault, second-degree child endangerment, third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.
Colbert's attorney, Edward Cridge, said in Superior Court on Monday that he has "some concerns about (Colbert's) capacity to currently participate in the proceedings." He said he wants to have psychiatrist treat Colbert. Judge Alberto Rivas, saying that the case against Colbert is "extraordinarily strong," ordered the defendant remain in jail pending a trial during his detention hearing last month.
Colbert wore a green shirt and sat silently in court Monday.
At Colbert's detention hearing, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Jody Cabone said the alleged relationship between Colbert and the 13-year-old student began last November, with the defendant sending Instagram photos of his genitalia to the student, and asking and receiving revealing photos of the victim, according to an audio recording of the hearing.
When asked Monday by Judge Joseph Rea if there was a plea deal offered, she said Colbert was offered a five-year sentence with no chance of early release.
Rea referenced the offer when he said to Cridge, "Well, you're going to miss out on a sweetheart deal." Rea later said, "I suspect you can kiss that offer goodbye."
Cridge responded to Rea, stating, "Well your honor, we did speak earlier and I advised Ms. Carbone of my concern. What we would like to do is bring him back in 30 days for another preindictment conference, giving the opportunity to ensure Mr. Colbert's capacity to meaningfully participate in these proceedings."
When Rea asked Cridge if it was a matter of Colbert's "competency," Cridge responded, "Judge, based on my recent conversations with him, again, I have concerns about his capacity right now to meaningfully participate in these proceedings, either by way of negotiations or in terms of assisting the preparation of his defense."
At the March hearing, Cabone said there were multiple incidents of oral sex and digital penetration between Colbert and the 13-year-old, and there was an incident of sexual intercourse in March, apparently in a school storage trailer. Cabone said there is a video of Colbert unlocking the trailer and entering with the victim, and remaining in there for more than 45 minutes.
There were other videos of Colbert entering a storage room where other incidents occurred, the prosecutor said. She said that on Valentine's Day, Colbert gave the girl a large stuffed bear.
Authorities also have text messages exchanged between Colbert and the girl, including one in which the victim states her concerns about the contact, and another in which Colbert, apparently trying to influence the victim, asks to have his mother speak to the girl's mother, the prosecutor said in the recording.
She also said two school employees witnessed what they saw as an inappropriate relationship the defendant and the victim, and that Colbert deleted messages from his phone.