FREEHOLD, NJ – A former Monmouth County probation officer was sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison this afternoon for sexually assaulting a woman he supervised on Drug Court probation and making false representations to the Court, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Henry C. Cirignano, 48, of Wall Township, an 18-year veteran of the New Jersey State Probation Department in the Vicinage of Monmouth, was sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison by Ocean County Presiding Criminal Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Toms River. As part of this sentence, Cirignano must serve 6 years, 8 months and 2 days before becoming eligible for any release on parole. He will also be subject to parole supervision for life, required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law, and faces a lifetime ban on public employment in the State of New Jersey, as well as forfeiture of his benefits.
Cirignano previously pleaded guilty on February 24, 2020 before Judge Daniels to three counts of second degree Sexual Assault by Coercion, and one count of second degree Official Misconduct.
Cirignano was arrested in February 2019 and charged with the sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman he supervised on Drug Court probation. An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that between August 2016 and January 2019, Cirignano engaged in sexual activity with the female probationer while she was under his supervision. Further investigation led to the filing of additional charges, including charges of official misconduct, after it was determined that he misused his official position to conceal his illicit activities over that same period of time.
Evidence gathered in the investigation revealed Cirignano had threatened to create false probation violations resulting in incarceration unless the victim provided sexual favors to him. Cirignano’s sexual assaults upon the victim were frequent and repetitive. Cirignano also repeatedly lied to the Drug Court judge presiding over his victim’s case providing false excuses for the victim’s failure to appear in court.
“Cirignano’s actions represent the worst type of predatory behavior,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. “He trampled upon the oath he took as a public servant, and abused his power by forcing the victim to provide sexual favors, extorting her with threats of incarceration if she refused. Thankfully, he will serve a significant jail sentence, be registered as a sex offender, and never hold a public job again.”
Cirignano has remained held in the Ocean County Correctional Institution since his arrest on February 4, 2019.
The case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Thomas Fichter and Kristen Anastos.
Cirignano is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., of Ocean Township.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Gramiccioni, instituted a Corruption Tip Line, designed to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying and targeting corruption, fraud and misconduct occurring in local governmental agencies.
Citizens may report concerns via the following: Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Tip Line – 855-7-UNJUST (855 786-5878); or E-mail at: email@example.com write “Corruption/Misconduct Tip” in the subject line.