County corrections officer indicted in connection with assault of inmate

A Union County grand jury has returned a two-count indictment against a corrections officer charged in connection with the physical assault of a Union County Jail inmate last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Wednesday.

Lawrence Bethke, 39, of Roselle is charged with second-degree official misconduct and third-degree aggravated assault.

On Saturday, June 18, 2016, Bethke and an inmate engaged in a verbal dispute that escalated to violence, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal, who is prosecuting the case.

The matter was investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and the Union County Police Department with assistance from the Union County Department of Corrections.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison.

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