FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A corrections officer has been charged with having sex inside the Monmouth County jail with an inmate he once dated.

Thomas J. Mauro, 41, of Beachwood and the 31-year-old woman first met in 2013 when she was serving time in jail and they continued a sexual relationship once she was released, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

She was back in prison on a separate charge this year and on April 27 was seen entering a staff bathroom at the jail. She was followed a few moments later by Mauro, according to the prosecutor.

While in the bathroom, Mauro engaged in various forms of sexual contact with the woman before they took turns leaving the bathroom, Gramiccioni said.

It is unlawful for a corrections official to have sex with an inmate regardless of consent.

Gramiccioni did not release the inmate's identity.

“As a corrections officer, Mr. Mauro exercises supervisory powers over an inmate. The conduct, as alleged, is an exploitative abuse of an officer’s sworn authority and will not be tolerated. We will continue to hold every law enforcement officer to the highest standards with no distinction between their roles in the system,” Gramiccioni said.

Mauro was charged with second-degree official misconduct and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. Public records show he had been a county employee since April 2005 and earned a base salary of $106,000.

If convicted of official misconduct, Mauro faces a mandatory sentence of five years in prison without parole, a lifetime ban on public employment in the state, and forfeiture of his benefits.

If convicted of criminal sexual contact, Mauro could serve up to 18 months in state prison.

In May, the state corrections department announced the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate potential civil rights violations at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Hunterdon County where eight employees have been charged with sexually abusing inmates in recent years.

The federal investigation will review whether conditions at the prison reflect systemic violations of inmates' constitutional rights. Investigators plan to interview officers and local officials as well as inmates, observe officer activities and review documents and specific incidents.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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