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PRINCETON: Man accused of sex assault admitted to intervention program

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By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
A healthcare worker, once accused of sexually assaulting a patient at a facility in Princeton, was admitted last week into a court-approved diversion program for criminal defendants to avoid prosecution.
If Jonathan D. Hodges, 37, successfully completes the Pretrial Intervention Program during the next three years, the criminal case against him would be dropped. As conditions of being in PTI, he is not allowed to contact the alleged victim, has to submit to drug and alcohol testing and must maintain a job, said Casey A. DeBlasio, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
The matter stemmed from an alleged incident Jan.28, 2015, at Princeton House, a division of the Princeton HealthCare System, where Mr. Hodges had worked as a mental health associate. A then-34-year-old female patient accused him of sexually assaulting her in her room at the facility, the Prosecutor’s Office said last year.
A Mercer County grand jury in August 2015 returned a one-count indictment charging him with second-degree sexual assault, an offense carrying up to 10 years in state prison. Mr. Hodges pleaded not guilty, while his case worked its way through the court system.
His lawyer, noted defense attorney Robin K. Lord, sought to have Mr. Hodges get into PTI. There was a sticking point, since a state law changing the rules about the diversion program would have required him to plead guilty first because he was charged with a second-degree crime. He balked at doing so.
The second-degree charge against him subsequently was dismissed and Mr. Hodges went into a PTI on a lesser fourth-degree offense, according to the Prosecutor’s Office. Ms. DeBlasio said Mr. Hodges was admitted into PTI on Sept. 21.
Ms. Lord could not be reached for comment.
During the time the case was pending, he continued to work for Princeton HealthCare System. 

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