NJ Police Chief Charged for Sexually Assaulting Female Employees, Asking Subordinate's Wife to Perform Oral Sex on Him in Exchange for Promotion

Thomas Herbst
Thomas Herbst Facebook

A grand jury indicted the chief of the Manville Police Department Monday on charges of repeatedly sexually assaulting staff he was in charge of, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

The eight-count indictment accused Thomas Herbst, 55, of leveraging his position as police chief to sexually assault at least three women over the course of more than a decade. Herbst was suspended following his arrest in April.

Herbst Accused Victims of Disobeying Orders if They Resisted His Advances

Between 2008 and 2021, Herbst would allegedly grope, expose himself to and rape a police department employee who reported to him, often assaulting her while the two were on duty at police headquarters.

New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin described one incident where Herbst allegedly called his victim into his office, masturbated and ejaculated into her hair before apologizing and telling her to go home early.

The attacks eventually escalated to rape, according to prosecutors, and included an instance in which Herbst accused the victim of disobeying orders when she tried to resist his advances. He even ordered the victim to wear skirts at work to facilitate his attacks, officials said.

Herbst Solicited Sexual Favors from Subordinate's Wife in Exchange for His Promotion

In a separate series of incidents, Herbst allegedly solicited sexual favors from a subordinate officer's wife in exchange for promotion. The attorney general's office said Herbst texted his subordinate to demand oral sex from his wife as part of a quid pro quo deal.

Authorities also described an incident in which Herbst sexually assaulted a former subordinate while visiting her newly purchased home.

"We expect those who swear an oath to uphold and enforce the law to be honorable, committed to the cause of justice, and dedicated to public service, and we require that they follow the law themselves," said Platkin. "Herbst allegedly established an unsafe toxic work environment for women where power was abused. His conduct, as alleged, was unacceptable and criminal, and we expect to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law for these alleged abuses of the public's trust."

Herbst faces charges of sexual assault, official misconduct, a pattern of official misconduct and criminal sexual contact. Added to the initial set of charges, was an accusation that the chief retained his badge after he was suspended and used it in an attempt to get out of a traffic ticket.