Manville, NJ – In a shocking turn of events, the chief of the Manville Police Department, Thomas Herbst, has been indicted by a grand jury on numerous charges of sexual assault. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office revealed that the eight-count indictment accuses the 55-year-old chief of leveraging his position of authority to perpetrate repeated acts of sexual assault against at least three women over a span of more than a decade.
Following his arrest in April, Herbst was promptly suspended from his duties pending further investigation. Disturbing details unveiled in the indictment suggest that between 2008 and 2021, Herbst allegedly engaged in a pattern of sexual misconduct, ranging from groping and exposing himself to rape, targeting a police department employee under his supervision. Shockingly, many of these assaults took place during their shifts at the police headquarters.
New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin provided an example that epitomizes the egregious behavior exhibited by Herbst. Allegedly, the chief summoned his victim to his office, where he proceeded to masturbate and ejaculate into her hair before offering an apology and instructing her to leave work early. Prosecutors further contend that the assaults escalated over time, culminating in instances of rape, with Herbst berating the victim for insubordination when she attempted to resist his advances.
Officials involved in the case have revealed additional acts of misconduct perpetrated by Herbst. In a separate series of incidents, the indicted chief allegedly sought sexual favors from the wife of a subordinate officer, promising promotions in exchange. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office disclosed that Herbst even sent explicit text messages to his subordinate, explicitly demanding oral sex from his wife as part of a quid pro quo arrangement.
Furthermore, authorities detailed an incident where Herbst visited a former subordinate’s newly purchased home and sexually assaulted her during the encounter. The allegations against Herbst paint a distressing picture of a man who abused his authority and created an unsafe and toxic work environment for women under his command. Such behavior is both criminal and unacceptable, and New Jersey AG Matthew Platkin has vowed to prosecute Herbst to the fullest extent of the law, emphasizing the betrayal of the public’s trust by a sworn officer.
The charges Herbst faces include sexual assault, official misconduct, a pattern of official misconduct, and criminal sexual contact. In a troubling development, an additional accusation has been levied against the chief, asserting that he retained his badge even after his suspension and attempted to use it as leverage to evade a traffic ticket. These actions further erode public confidence in law enforcement and reinforce the urgency for justice to be served.
As the case unfolds, authorities and the public at large will closely monitor the legal proceedings to ensure that Herbst is held accountable for his alleged abuses and that the victims find solace in the pursuit of justice.