ROXBURY, NJ – An attendant at a Ledgewood BP gas station improperly touched a female patron last month and now faces criminal charges, said police. It is the second time in three years that a worker at the station was accused of that type of behavior.
The man, Sohan Sandhu, 53, was charged with one count of criminal sexual contact, said Roxbury Police. They said the arrest followed an investigation conducted by Roxbury Police Detective Sean Hefferon. The incident at the Route 46 business took place Jan. 19, police said.
In 2013, Roxbury Police filed charges of lewdness and criminal sexual contact against another worker at the station, Bhim Singh. The 23-year-old Singh was allowed to avoid criminal prosecution by entering the state Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI).
However, he is the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the woman he groped, who contends Singh – after accosting her with “unwanted, non-consentual and intrusive touching and sexual contact” performed a “lewd act” in front of her and then got into her vehicle. Succasunna lawyer Marshall Gates is representing Singh’s accuser.
In the new case, police allege Sandhu grabbed a woman’s breast, over her clothing, while she was trying to pay for gas. Police said Sandhu, after being arrested, was sent to the Morris County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Police said similar incident was reported to have taken place at the station between Oct. 15, 2015 and Oct. 25, 2015. They said they were made aware of that incident on Jan. 19. No arrests have been made in relation to the 2015 incident, police said.
In a Jan. 20 post on Facebook, a Roxbury woman warned her friends to avoid the BP station, contending she was groped the day before. It could not be determined whether the woman is the person Sandhu is accused of groping. Attempts to interview the woman have so far been unsuccessful.
“Here is a head’s up for everyone in the Succasunna/Ledgewood area in Roxbury,” she wrote. “If you need gas, please do not go to the Ledgewood BP on Route 46 right past the Towne Toyota and Cliff’s.”
The woman said she stopped at the station to get gas on Jan. 19 and “was sexually assaulted by one of the gas station attendants there.”
She said she filed a “formal statement” with Roxbury Police. “The officer that I spoke to told me that this is not the first time and that there have been multiple reports from that specific gas station. It is individually owned and so there is no camera surveillance to prove what happened yesterday night.”
The woman said she was told by police that, without physical evidence to prove her story, her “best option” was to identify the man “through a picture array.” The woman’s post resulted in a number of supportive comments from her Facebook friends, including some who said they experienced similar action at the BP station.
“I am utterly disgusted and feel incredibly violated and no other woman, man, child, etc. should have to feel that way,” wrote the woman.
At the station yesterday, pump attendant Hajinder Singh said he couldn’t believe Sandhu would behave that way. He said Sandhu, a native of India, is married and has two sons and a daughter.
Singh said he often served as an “interpreter” for Sandhu, explaining his colleague spoke very little English and couldn’t understand what was being said when people made requests that went beyond the amount and type of gas they wanted.
“I don’t think he did it,” said Singh, who said he’s worked for the station about six years and stressed that customer service is paramount at the job. “I know the guy," he said. "He has a wife.”