Ex-officer sentenced in abuse of teenagers in drug program

The Bucks County Court House in Doylestown is pictured.
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A former suburban Philadelphia police officer has been sentenced to decades in prison on convictions of sexual abuse of several teenage boys while he was working with a youth drug prevention program decades ago.

Bucks County Judge Wallace Bateman Jr. on Tuesday sentenced 54-year-old James Carey to 24 1/2 to 55 years in state prison on 20 counts of statutory rape, aggravated indecent assault without consent and related charges.

“Your badge and uniform became weapons of your depravity,” the judge told the former Warminster Township officer. “You preyed upon the most vulnerable of the community.”

Prosecutors alleged that Carey assaulted boys in the 1990s while serving in the Centennial School District as a resource officer with the federally funded Drug Abuse Resistance Education or D.A.R.E. program aimed at teaching kids to resist drugs and violence.

Bateman noted that Carey could not look at childhood photos of the five alleged victims or look at the now-adult men in their 30s and 40s as they gave impact statements. Carey, who later moved to Cape May Court House, New Jersey, declined to make a statement before sentencing.

Carey maintained his innocence but in October entered no contest pleas, which do not include an admission of wrongdoing but acknowledge that prosecutors have enough evidence to secure a conviction. He tried to withdraw the pleas months later but the judge refused to allow him to do so.

Defense attorney Craig Penglase sought leniency, citing his client’s decades of public service as well as alleged abuse at the hands of other inmates.