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April 07, 2021

Former Bucks County D.A.R.E. officer charged with sexually abusing boys

James Carey, 52, allegedly assaulted at least four children over the last 25 years

Investigations Sexual Abuse
Carey Bucks County Street View/Google

Bucks County prosecutors charged 52-year-old James Carey, a former Warrington police and D.A.R.E. officer, with 122 offenses related to the alleged sexual abuse of at least four boys. Pictured above is the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown.

A former Warrington Township police officer faces sexual abuse charges stemming from his time as a D.A.R.E officer more than two decades ago, Bucks County prosecutors said.

James Carey, 52, was arraigned Wednesday morning following a lengthy investigation into allegations that he abused at least four boys while serving in the program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. He also ran the Fire Explorers program for the Warminster Township Fire Department and volunteered with the local Boy Scouts. 

Some of the alleged incidents occurred on camping trips and at a township recreation center in the Speedway section of Warminster, where Carey previously lived. 

Carey was charged with 122 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, statutory sexual assault, official oppression and related offenses. The incidents noted in the court filing allegedly took place between 1996 and 2009.

The charges followed a grand jury investigation into multiple allegations against Carey, who was a Warminster police officer from 1989-2009. He had previously worked briefly for the North Wales Police Department and the Warwick Police Department in the late 1980s. 

The 80-page grand jury presentment details disturbing allegations against Carey. 

"Carey ingratiated himself into the lives of minor children, in particular, those who were already facing challenges in their lives," the presentment said. "He used his position and authority to groom, not only the children, but their adult caregivers. The grooming tactics he used were pervasive, manipulative and calculated such that he not only lowered the minor's guard but also attempted to provide an assurance that his crimes would go unreported and if reported, not believed."

Bucks CareySource/Bucks County District Attorney's Office

James Carey, 52

Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub discussed the four cases in which Carey is charged and explained why it took years to arrest him during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. 

One victim allegedly knew Carey through the D.A.R.E. program and got rides from the officer in his patrol car. He was about 13 years old the first time he was abused, according to prosecutors, and Carey allegedly groomed and abused the boy for several years, evening signing off on court-ordered community service paperwork in exchange for house chores and sex. 

Another victim was allegedly abused at a recreation center in Warminster, where Carey first assaulted him under the guise of a police pat down, prosecutors said. Carey allegedly had found a bag of marijuana and confronted the 14-year-old boy in a bathroom stall. The invasive search allegedly ended with Carey performing oral sex on the teen, who said he was sexually assaulted by Carey several other times, always while Carey was in uniform. 

Carey allegedly became involved with a third victim after the boy's mother entrusted the officer to mentor her troubled son. 

A fourth victim was a neighbor who turned to Carey for mentorship because his father was not present and his mother was having problems in her life, prosecutors said. 

At least three of the victims were students at Log College Middle School, where Carey was a D.A.R.E officer. The investigation found that Carey allegedly let many minors smoke, drink alcohol and use drugs around him, the presentment said. 

Weintraub said the effort to pin charges against Carey dates back 20 years. 

Bucks County investigators initially investigated Carey in 2001 after Warminster Township Police received a report alleging inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old boy. The age of consent law in Pennsylvania at the time was 16 and Carey could not be charged due to incomplete information about the case. 

Bucks Carey PoliceSource/Bucks County District Attorney's Office

James Carey, pictured as member of the Warminster Township Police Department in 1995.

At the time, former Bucks County District Attorney Diane Gibbons — now a Common Pleas judge — warned Warminster police in a letter that Carey's behavior and conduct caused her grave concern about the safety of children in his community, particularly if he remained a police officer. 

Carey was fired from the Warminster Township Police Department in 2006 — five years after the initial investigation. He won his job back through arbitration, reached a settlement with Warminster Township in 2009 and retired as a corporal with full credentials. 

After leaving Warminster Township, Carey worked at a campground in Cape May, New Jersey, and was again fired, prosecutors said. He took another job with the Coast Guard, but was fired from that position as well. As recently as last year, he worked as a bus driver for the the Cape May County School District until he resigned. 

The case was revived last May when one of the four victims reported the alleged abuse to law enforcement, breathing new life into the investigation, Weintraub said. 

"I pride myself on my office's dogged determination in reviving what I would call old, cold cases," Weintraub said. "This is a case where we always suspected there was more to it, and unfortunately, it required additional victims to come forward for us to be able to put the proof together." 

The investigation also connected Carey to a co-conspirator, 60-year-old Charles "Chuck" Goodenough, of Warminster. The two men knew each other through a shared connection to the Boy Scouts and the Warminster Township Fire Department. They also ran the Fire Explorers Program together. 

Goodenough had been a weekend supervisor at the Camp Ockanickon Boy Scout Reservation in Plumstead Township, where he was fired for making inappropriate sexual comments to minors, prosecutors said. Most recently, he had been working at BARC Developmental Services, an agency that assists individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, including children.  

On Feb. 26, Bucks County detectives served a search warrant at Goodenough's Warminster Township home and seized electronic devices. Three days later, Goodenough was found dead in his home. His death was ruled a suicide from a drug overdose.

"During the course of their respective careers, both Carey and Goodenough pursued positions that allowed them to have unfettered access to countless children while in positions of authority," the presentment said. "They were both tasked with the care and supervision of those minors and/or vulnerable adults due to intellectual disability. There is sufficient evidence to support the fact that both Carey and Goodenough exploited their positions of authority to victimize minors in their care."

The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office strongly believes there are more victims in this investigation and worked with the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office to gather information about Carey. He has not been charged with any crimes in New Jersey at this time. 

Anyone with information about additional crimes committed by Carey is asked to contact Bucks County Detectives at (215) 340-8216 or (215) 348-6504. 

"If you’ve been victimized by this man, or know someone else who has, please come forward so we can help you," Weintraub said.

Though Bucks County prosecutors sought to keep Carey behind bars, a Common Pleas judge set his bail at 10% of $100,000. He posted bail and was released ahead of a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 22. 

Weintraub said an officer argued that Carey should be held because of the seriousness of the alleged crimes and because he could be a flight risk and an ongoing danger to his community. Prosecutors may file to have Carey's bail amended with restrictions. 

"A police officer's creed is to protect and serve his community," Weintraub said. "In a perverse and criminal dereliction of his duty, James Carey instead took advantage of his power and credibility while on the job as a police officer to sexually abuse our community’s most vulnerable: our children."