CLARIFICATION: Juan Stevens was terminated from his job as a prison guard at the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ Central Reception and Assignment Facility in Trenton on Aug. 1, according to a spokesman with the Department of Corrections. He was suspended after his initial arrest by state police on March 21.
A suspended prison guard pleaded guilty Thursday to impersonating a law enforcement officer to coerce four women, including three prostitutes, into having sex with him for free, and in one case, at a discount.
According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Juan R. Stevens, 51, of Burlington Township, pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend Stevens be sentenced to five years in state prison, including two years of parole ineligibility. He must also forfeit his state job and will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Stevens is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 3.
Stevens had faced several other charges, including sexual assault, theft by extortion, impersonating a law enforcement officer and criminal coercion.
Between May 2011 and July 2012, Stevens telephoned women who advertised their services online as adult escorts and arranged for sexual encounters at hotels throughout Burlington County, including one in Maple Shade. He would identify himself as law enforcement—displaying a badge and wearing handcuffs on the back of his pants—so the victim feared she would be arrested, authorities said. In one instance, Stevens claimed he was conducting a prostitution sting and uttered the command “stand down” into a cell phone, which appeared to have a walkie-talkie feature. Fearing she was going to be arrested, the woman had sex with Stevens, who allegedly left without paying.Stevens also sexually assaulted a woman at a motel in Mansfield. Authorities said he approached the victim outside the motel, identified himself as a police officer, and asked to talk to her about prostitution and drug activity at the motel. Upon entering her room, he displayed a badge and ordered her to take her clothes off. The woman told authorities she feared Stevens, and engaged in oral sex and sexual intercourse without a condom. DNA evidence later linked Stevens to the assault.
The case was investigated by the New Jersey State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice, with assistance from the Department of Corrections, the Mansfield Police Department, and the Westampton Police Department.
“Stevens betrayed the honor of his badge by using it to commit these despicable crimes,” said Acting Attorney General John Hoffman. “His conduct was utterly corrupt and repugnant. All sworn officers should be held to a high standard, and those who use their authority or trappings of authority to commit crimes will face stern justice.”
After his initial arrest by state police on March 21, Stevens was suspended without pay from his job at the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ Central Reception and Assignment Facility in Trenton.