–BY LAUREN CIRAULO Staff Writer, Old Bridge Sentinel:
A former Old Bridge Board of Education member was cleared last week of charges that he attempted to lure a 10-year-old child.
A grand jury at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick no-billed David L. Josselyn on June 9, resulting in the dismissal of the charges, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Information Officer Jim O’Neill.
“The grand jury made a decision to drop the charges,” O’Neill said. “The jury acts as sort of a buffer and oversees what the police do. In this case, they saw no probable cause and chose not to indict.”
Josselyn, 47, was arrested Jan. 28 following an investigation by local police and the county prosecutor’s office and was charged with attempted luring and endangering the welfare of a child, according to a statement issued jointly at the time by Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Old Bridge Police Chief Thomas Collow.
The incident, which reportedly occurred the evening of Jan. 25, was first reported to school authorities, who in turn contacted the police. Josselyn was taken to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick and held in lieu of $50,000 bail, but posted bail and was released.
According to Josselyn’s attorney at the time, Robert C. Brown, the incident leading to Josselyn’s arrest was the result of a “misunderstanding.” Brown said Josselyn had driven his daughter and the alleged victim to a rehearsal at school. He later picked up the children and briefly stopped at his home, where his wife and son were, before the alleged victim walked home. Brown said Josselyn had received permission from the girl’s mother of transporting her to and from the school event.
Brown maintained Josselyn’s innocence, and had suggested that the accusation was the result of issues existing between two families.
In February, the girl’s father came forward to authorities and expressed in a Feb. 11 letter his belief that his daughter had made up the allegations, noting that she had a history of making up stories.
Jordan Rickards, Josselyn’s current Milltown-based attorney, said the charges were brought against Josselyn with no evidence.
“Obviously we’re very happy with the decision,” Rickards said. “The grand jury found that there was a lack of probable cause, and that the police should have never charged Josselyn in the first place.”
Rickards said that while the prosecution could choose to again review the cast for indictment, such an action is unlikely.
“There’s no physical evidence. There clearly was an issue with how the investigation was run,” Rickards said. “Josselyn has been tormented by law enforcement that didn’t do much of an investigation. He’s given up his position on the school board, and will be haunted by these charges. But he’s not some recluse. This is a respectable member of the community who was wronged.”
Rickards said the charges were detrimental to Josselyn’s reputation, and he holds that the prosecution was cognizant of this when it decided to go forward with the charges.
Josselyn is medically retired from the U.S. Army National Guard. Along with serving on the school board, he also volunteers with the Cheesequake First Aid Squad and is vice president of the Old Bridge Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a civilian volunteer organization sponsored by the police department. He has been a resident of Old Bridge for almost 22 years.