February 24, 2014

Bergen County Man charged with Abduction, Sex Assault

A Bergen County man has been charged in connection with an abduction and sexual assault that took place in 2012, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Joseph Defreitas, 42, of East Rutherford, is charged with carjacking, kidnapping, robbery, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. State Superior Court Judge Frederic R. McDaniel set bail at $650,000.

The date was December 24, 2012 when the victim in the case, a cashier at a department store on Route 1 in Linden, arrived at work for an early-morning shift, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor David Hummel, who is prosecuting the case. As the woman got out of her car, she was approached by a masked man who pointed a gun at her and forced her back into the vehicle on the passenger’s side, Hummel said.

The masked man, who authorities later identified as Defreitas, then allegedly entered the driver’s side of the vehicle and ordered the victim to direct him to an ATM and withdraw money to give to him. Instead, he allegedly drove the woman to an unknown location, where he forced her to perform a sexual act. Afterwards, he drove her back to the department store parking lot, threatened to kill her, and fled the scene, according to the investigation.

The woman immediately reported the incident to a co-worker, and a 14-month investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit followed.

Defreitas was served with the charges Monday at Morris County Jail, where he has been lodged since January 18, 2013. He was initially arrested in connection with an incident that took place in Parsippany-Troy Hills on December 29, 2012 – five days after the alleged abduction in Linden.

In that incident, Defreitas and a second defendant, 52-year-old Marilyn Nadeau of East Rutherford, allegedly abducted a 71-year-old New Hampshire woman who had become lost while visiting family, made her withdraw money from an ATM machine, and forced her into the trunk of her own car. The victim ultimately managed to free herself and reported the incident to police, sparking the three-week investigation that led to the arrest of both suspects.

In addition to that case, there are also additional charges pending against Defreitas in connection with a series of robberies and home invasions in Connecticut.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.