A former volunteer with the East Franklin Fire Department was found guilty by a jury on all counts stemming from sex crimes he committed in multiple jurisdictions.
Thomas Canales, 39, of Franklin Township, was found guilty on Jan. 2 of seven criminal counts, including three counts of sexual assault in the second degree, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree, and one count of sexual contact in the fourth degree, according to a statement provided by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
During a five-week trial that began on Nov. 28, 2017, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Carver presented evidence and testimony showing that on various dates between April 19 and Aug. 28, 2016, Canales committed sexual offenses against four victims, three of whom were children, in multiple jurisdictions including Edison, Highland Park, New Brunswick and North Brunswick, according to the statement.
Canales was apprehended at his home on Sept. 1, 2016, during an investigation by Detective Bill Coleman of the New Brunswick Police Department, Detective Dominick DeCarlo of the Edison Police Department and Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
During the investigation, it was determined that Canales exposed himself to a seven-year-old girl in New Brunswick on July 3, 2016. In that case, he was charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and lewdness, Carey said.
He also was charged with criminal sexual contact for improperly touching a 32-year-old woman at a playground in an apartment complex in Edison on Aug. 25, 2016. The charge in that case was filed on Sept. 8, 2016, according to Carey.
Additional charges were filed after a subsequent investigation by Detective Sean McGraw of the Highland Park Police Department, Detective Michael Braun of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Mark Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
That investigation determined that Canales exposed himself to an 11-year-old girl in North Brunswick on April 19, 2016. He was charged in that case with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Carey said.
He was also charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of child for improperly touching a 11-year-old girl in Highland Park on Aug. 28, 2016, Carey said.
Canales is facing a prison term of up to 31-and-a-half years when he is sentenced in New Brunswick on May 11 by Superior Court Judge Colleen Flynn. The defendant will have to register as a Megan’s Law sex offender and also be placed on parole supervision for life upon his release from prison, according to the statement.
Canales still faces criminal charges in a case involving computer theft after he allegedly installed a surveillance system in a client’s home and then watched activities in the home through his computer and cell phone, according to the statement. This crime allegedly occurred when he was the owner of a computer company known as “Scope It Out” which was located in the Somerset section of Franklin.