Essex County News

Newark Man Pleads Guilty to Beating, Sexually Assaulting Rutgers Student

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Michael P. Knight, 39 of Newark. Credits: Courtesy of Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A Newark man pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting and severely beating a female Rutgers student and will spend up to 22 years behind bars, authorities announced on Tuesday. 

At 3:30 a.m. on May 4, 2016, 39-year-old Newark resident Michael Knight followed the woman and attacked her near College Avenue and Seminary Place on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, according to a statement from Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.

Knight struck the victim on the head, severely beat her and dragged her to the side of the building, where he sexually assaulted her, Carey said.

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When a group of people intervened, Knight fled, according to Carey, and stated that he had a gun and would shoot one of the men who was attempting to chase him.

The woman was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and then released.

Days later, Knight was identified as the attacker, and Middlesex County authorities stated that he was being sought in connection was the incident. Knight then promptly turned himself in to the Newark police.

Under a plea agreement with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Allysa Gambarella, Knight will be sentenced to 22 years in a New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act.

This means that Knight has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be released on parole. Once released, Knight will have to register as a Megan’s Law sex offender and undergo parole supervision for the remainder of his life.

The sentence is expected to be imposed by Superior Court Judge Joseph Paone at a hearing on March 5, 2018.

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