A state probation officer working in Middlesex County has been charged with accepting bribes this year from a client who was serving a probationary drug term.
Rhonda Battle, 46, of Roselle, was charged with official misconduct and bribery, both third-degree offenses, for allegedly taking an undisclosed amount of cash on various occasions between Jan. 1 and Dec. 23, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
Battle is being held on $20,000 bail set by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz here. Ferencz said the defendant may be released after posting 10 percent.
The charges follow an investigation by Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Nicholas Chiorello. The investigation determined that Battle allegedly accepted cash amounts to ensure that the client passed drug testing and would not be found in violation of the conditions of a court-ordered probationary term.
Battle had been employed as a probation officer and was assigned to work with clients who had been admitted to the state Superior Court’s Drug Court program at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.
As an alternative to incarceration, the program offers counseling, rehabilitation and probationary terms to first-time offenders.
“It is incumbent upon the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office to help maintain the integrity of the Drug Court, which offers a viable means of addressing the problems of addiction. The program will only continue to be successful if those who help administer it remain above reproach,” Carey said.
The investigation is continuing.