Township Man Convicted On Variety Of Sex Crime Charges

Township resident Thomas Canales was convicted Jan. 2 by a New Brunswick jury of a number of sex-related crimes. Photo: Middlesex County prosecutor’s Office.

A 40-year-old township resident faces more than 30 years in jail following his Jan. 2 conviction on sex crime charges.

Thomas Canales was found guilty of seven criminal counts, including three counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault, three counts of 3rd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and one count of 4th Degree sexual contact, according to a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Canales was found guilty after a five-week trial by a jury sitting in state Superior Court, New Brunswick. He faces a state prison term of up to 31 1/2 years when he is sentenced in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Colleen Flynn, according to the release. Further, he 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 release.

Canales was arrested at his home on Sept. 1, 2016. He was the owner of a township-based business called “Scope It Out” and is also a former Fire Commissioner and volunteer fireman in the township.

Canales still faces a criminal charge of computer theft after it was discovered that he 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 release.

The guilty verdict comes nearly two years after Canales was acquitted of charges that he sexually assaulted two girls in his township home between 2007 and 2012.

During the trial that began on November 28, 2017, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Carver presented evidence and testimony showing that on various dates between April 19, 2016 and August 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, the release said.

According to the release, the investigation revealed that Canales exposed himself to a 7-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.

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 August 25, 2016. The charge in that case was filed on September 8, 2016, the release said.

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, according to the release.

That investigation determined that Canales exposed himself to an 11-year-old girl in North Brunswick on April 19, 2016, according to the release. He was charged in that case with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Canales was also charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of child for improperly touching a 11-year-old girl in Highland Park on August 28, 2016, according to the release.

Canales remains incarcerated at the Middlesex County Jail in North Brunswick.


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