WARMINSTER, Pa. – A former Warminster Township police officer was arrested Wednesday and charged with sexually abusing four teenage boys he encountered while working as a D.A.R.E. officer more than two decades ago.
James Carey, 52, who retired from the department in 2009, was charged with Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Statutory Sexual Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Indecent Assault, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Corruption of Minors and Official Oppression. He faces a total of 122 counts.
Carey’s arrest followed a lengthy investigation by Bucks County Detectives and an inquiry by a Bucks County Investigating Grand Jury. Supervising Judge Raymond F. McHugh approved the charges. Carey was taken into custody on Wednesday and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Maggie Snow who sent him to Bucks County Correctional Facility under $100,000 bail, which he posted later in the day.
Carey was a police officer for Warminster Township from 1989 to 2009, and previously and briefly worked for the North Wales Police Department in Montgomery County (June 1988 to August 1988) and the Warwick Township Police Department (July 1988 to May 1989).
“A police officer’s creed is to protect and serve his community,” District Attorney Matt 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.”
“He was a veritable wolf in sheep’s clothing, walking among us.”
An 80-page presentment details testimony from victims, parents and numerous other witnesses that alleges Carey used his position as a uniformed officer assigned to work as a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Officer at the Centennial School District to “gain unique access to children under color of authority and law.”
“Carey ingratiated himself into the lives of minor children, in particular, those who were already facing challenges in their lives,” according to the presentment. “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.”
D.A.R.E. officers typically worked within the school districts, teaching younger kids about drug abuse and how to say no to drugs. However, this investigation found several instances of Carey allowing minors to drink, smoke and do drugs around him.
“The evidence established during this investigative process indicates that Carey has engaged in the sexual abuse of children in his care from 1988-2000. However, there were countless minors in his care that span the entire duration of his employment with Warminster Township, who remain unidentified due to the lack of, or incomplete record keeping.”
In addition, Carey worked with the Warminster Police Teen Activity Corps where he supervised teens at the township’s Rec Center and took teenage boys on overnight camping trips, ran the Fire Explorers program for the Warminster Township Fire Department and volunteered with the local Boy Scouts.
Bucks County detectives initially investigated Carey in 2001 after Warminster Township police received a report that he had inappropriate contact with a boy, who was 17 at the time. Due to the age of consent being 16 and due to not having full information about what had happened, no charges were filed in 2001.
However, the District Attorney in 2001, Diane Gibbons, wrote a letter to the Warminster Township Police Department that advised that Carey’s behavior and conduct was very concerning. Gibbons, now a Bucks County Common Pleas Judge, advised that while criminal charges could not be filed, her office had grave concerns about the safety of the community with Carey being employed as a police officer with the Warminster Township Police Department.
Carey remained with the police department until 2005 when he was fired at the rank of a Sergeant, for reasons unrelated to his inappropriate contact with minors.
Through arbitration, he got his job back in December 2006, at a demoted rank of Corporal. While he was fired, Carey worked at the Driftwood Campground in Cape May County, New Jersey, where he also lived. In September of 2006, Carey was the focus of a New Jersey State Police investigation for inappropriate conduct with minors at that campground. No charges were filed.
Because the arbitration decision was binding, Warminster Township police had no choice but to hire Carey back. He was removed from patrol duties and did not do any other sort of police work, ultimately reaching a retirement settlement with the Warminster Police in May of 2009. The settlement included a nondisclosure order.
The investigation was renewed last spring when one of the victims (MW1) reported his sexual abuse to the Warminster Township Police Department, who referred the case to Bucks County Detectives.
That victim, now 36, coming forward sparked a nearly yearlong investigation by county detectives where they tracked down and interviewed victims, their parents and dozens of others who knew or had suspicions of Carey’s inappropriate conduct from his time as a police officer.
MW1 MW1 testified to the Grand Jury that he was an eighth grader at Log College Middle School while Carey was a D.A.R.E. officer there. Carey, who students referred to as “OJ” for Officer Jim or Officer James, took an interest in children or troubled youth, MW1 testified. MW1 said one day after school he was at the township’s Rec Center where a uniformed Carey confronted him in the bathroom after finding a bag of marijuana. Carey locked the bathroom door and told the teen he had to search him as part of a drug investigation, leading to an invasive pat down search and Carey performing oral sex on the boy. MW1 told the Grand Jury that Carey sexually assaulted him three to five other times while he was an eighth grader. In every sexual assault, Carey was in uniform.
MW2 A second victim, now 42, testified to the Grand Jury that he was about 13 at Log College Middle School when he first encountered Carey working at the school as the D.A.R.E. officer. At the time, MW2 also participated in the Fire Explorers Program, as did Carey. Through school and the Explorers, Carey got close to MW2, letting him drive his car in parking lots, buying things for him and his friends and letting him and his friends crash at his house. The grooming continued with Carey allowing MW2 and his friends to drink and smoke at his house. That is when Carey first sexually abused MW2. The abuse continued for several years between 1991 and 1996, MW2 testified. At one point, MW2 was court-ordered to perform community service, and Carey took on the role of supervising his community service hours. Carey would take MW2 to Carey’s home and have him perform different chores and sexually assault him. Carey would then sign off on MW2’s community service paperwork.
MW3 Another Log College Middle School student met Carey, the school’s D.A.R.E. officer, at a carnival in Warminster. Carey regularly made sexual comments to MW3, including comments about his physical appearance. Carey also touched the teen’s buttocks, acting as though it was an accident. On at least two occasions, MW3 was seen in Carey’s backyard. Once, MW3 left Carey’s hot tub crying and smelling of alcohol. MW3 told a friend and the friend’s mother that he had been in the hot tub with Carey and Carey told him to take off his boxer shorts. When he would not, Carey tried to physically remove MW3’s boxer shorts. MW3 left the hot tub and ran from Carey’s backyard.
MW4 Another victim, now 47, testified he was 15 when he met Carey. MW4 said Carey would invite him to his house to play video games. On one occasion, they were playing video games when Carey lifted the back of MW4’s shirt and began to draw on MW4’s back with his finger. MW4 became uncomfortable and tried to leave, but Carey stopped him from leaving by blocking the door. Carey then turned off the lights and put his hand underneath MW4’s waistband, touching MW4’s pubic hair region. While touching him, Carey asked MW4 to stay a little longer, but MW4 was able to break free from Carey and ran home. MW4 reported the incident to the Warminster Township Police Department when he was still a teenager, but nothing happened. MW4 and his mother reported the incident again to the Warminster Township Police Department in 2006, after Carey was terminated from the department.
The investigation also connected Carey to a co-conspirator Charles “Chuck” Goodenough, 60, of Warminster Township, through a shared connection to the Boy Scouts and the Warminster Township Fire Department. Goodenough and Carey together ran the Fire Explorers program.
“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. 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.”
On Feb. 26, 2021, Bucks County detectives served a search warrant at his Warminster Township home and seized electronic devices. Three days later, on March 1, Goodenough was found dead in his home, and his death was ruled a suicide from a drug overdose. Goodenough had been a weekend supervisor at the Camp Ockanickon Boy Scout Reservation in Plumstead Township where he was accused of making sexual comments to minors.
He was eventually terminated for his inappropriate actions. At the time of his death, Goodenough was working at BARC Developmental Services, which assists and supports individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism.
Throughout his career with the Boys Scouts and the fire department, Goodenough had been suspected of sex abuse of children, the investigation found.
The Bucks County District Attorney’s Office strongly believes there are more victims in this case and ask anyone with information 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. The case was investigated by Bucks County Detectives and will be prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer M. Schorn and Assistant District Attorney Brittney Kern.