Former basketball coach sentenced to prison

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Christopher Tarver, 47, of Jackson, has been sentenced to serve an aggregate sentence of 52 years in state prison for engaging in multiple sexual acts with children, possessing child pornography, and official misconduct, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.

Tarver is a former Dunellen recreation director and former Middlesex County College men’s basketball coach. He must serve 25 years before he is eligible for parole.

State Superior Court Judge Colleen M. Flynn, sitting in New Brunswick, ordered Tarver to register as a Megan’s Law sex offender and ordered that he be placed on parole supervision for life upon his release from prison.

In addition, Flynn ordered a restraining order prohibiting Tarver, or anyone else on his behalf, from contacting the victims or their families in any manner. Tarver is also barred from holding any future public employment.

On Nov. 15, 2017, after a five-week sexual assault trial, Tarver was found guilty by a jury on 20 counts, which included eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of engaging in a pattern of official misconduct, one count of sexual assault, five counts of criminal sexual contact, four counts of official misconduct, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child by possessing child pornography, Carey said.

During the investigation it was determined that between June 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011, when Tarver was a coach and recreation director, he engaged in multiple sexual acts with a child in Edison, Dunellen and Atlantic City.

When the crimes were committed, Tarver had supervisory power and the legal duty or responsibility for the care of the victim who was under 18 years of age. He was also found in possession of child pornography in Jackson during the execution of a search warrant, Carey said.

Tarver also pleaded guilty on Feb. 22, 2018, under an open plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Shevlin to four remaining counts in the indictment. The counts included endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct, two counts of official misconduct, and one count of engaging in a pattern of official misconduct.

The 28-year sentence Tarver received for the charges in the plea agreement is to run concurrent to the 52-year sentence he received for his 2017 trial conviction.