17-Year-Old Boy, Pal Charged in ‘Unusual’ Sex Attack on Popular NJ Walking Trail

By Brian Thompson

Two people have been charged in the case of a woman who was sexually attacked on a popular New Jersey recreation trail in the middle of the afternoon earlier this week, law enforcement sources said Friday.

Specific charges against the duo -- a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man, both of whom live in Morristown but are originally from Latin America, the sources say -- weren't immediately released. The arrests come after a woman was attacked on the typically low-crime town's Traction Line Recreation Trail around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The names of the two charged haven't been released. Prosecutors had said they approached the woman on the trail that afternoon and asked her for cash.

She didn't give them any. One suspect then shoved her to the ground and sexually attacked her while the other stood by and did nothing, officials said.

Prosecutors say the victim didn't know either of them. But police said she got a good look at the one who sexually attacked her before he and his friend biked away and likely hopped on a train. Police say the friend who stood by and did nothing wore a black hooded sweatshirt with a peculiar phrase, "a--holes live forever."

The trail where the attack took place is popular among runners, dog walkers and local families -- and has some rethinking their routes, including Beth Cooper.

"Super scary," Cooper said.

Morristown resident Wes Shun said he was shocked by news of the attack.

"It's a safe trail," Shun said. "Lot of people on this trail, so I'm kind of shocked by this news."

Morris County Sheriff Jim Gannon also said an attack of that nature in the area was "unusual."

"In broad daylight and an open area, it's very much unusual in our experience, so we’re very much concerned," Gannon said.