Judge Joseph Rea, in a quick hearing in New Brunswick on Friday, agreed to recuse himself from the case of John Angeline, 44, who was charged in 2015 with sexually assaulting a youth at various locations over a period of more than two years – beginning when the victim was a 15-year-old boy.
Now Judge Michael Toto will preside over the trial. A pre-trial hearing before Toto is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Rea had previously expressed frustration with the case at a July 8 hearing, during which he had an exchange with the mother of the sexual assault victim. Rea, irritated with comments the mother made while sitting in the courtroom gallery, lashed out at her.
“Keep you mouth shut and sit down,” Rea sternly mother and her son.
At that hearing, Carver said the mother and son were voicing their frustration at the delays in the case, and Rea responded “I’m a little frustrated as well.”
The comments came days after negotiations on a plea deal collapsed. Angeline was expected to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence that required no jail time and no Megan’s Law requirement that he register with police as a sex offender. However, at the July 9 hearing, Carver said the prosecutor’s wanted to include Megan’s law requirements - including long-time supervision and monitoring - as part of the sentence.
Angeline rejected that offer, and the case was scheduled for trial in October.
Attempts to contact Carver and Angeline’s attorney, Joseph Mazraani, to get comments following Friday’s hearing were unsuccessful.
"All we want is fairness and a level playing field. Hopefully this change will bring that," she said.
Authorities had stressed that none of the alleged sex assaults occurred at South Plainfield High School.