Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that law enforcement authorities are seeking the public’s help in apprehending Devere Hatchett, a corrections officer at Northern State Prison who is wanted on sexual assault charges.
As a corrections officer, he is authorized to carry a firearm.
An arrest warrant was issued last night for Hatchett, 52, of Newark. A corrections officer for 18 years, it is alleged Hatchett sexually assaulted a female who works at the prison.
Hatchett is charged with one count of 2nd degree sexual assault, one count of 3rd degree criminal restraint, and three counts of 4th degree criminal sexual contact, according to Assistant Prosecutor Celeste M. Montesino.
Last night Hatchett did not come to work as scheduled and did not call in either. Authorities have been unable to locate him at his last known address and other locations he is known to frequent. He is a 6’ 1’’ African American male. He weighs approximately 210 pounds and wears eyeglasses. He drives a Green 2005 Dodge Durango. A bulletin has been issued for his vehicle.
Anyone with information about Hatchett is asked to call the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office 24 hour TIPS line. The number is 1-877-847-7432.
This is an active and ongoing investigation. The Professional Standards Bureau of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Special Victims Unit and the Northern State Prison Special Investigations Unit are handling the investigation.
At this time Hatchett is suspended with pay from his position at Northern State Prison.
These are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.