NJ superintendent raped family friend while she slept, police say
FAIRFIELD (Cumberland) — A school superintendent charged with kissing and raping a friend at his house has been on paid family leave.
Michael Knox, 51, superintendent of the one-school Fairfield Township district, is charged with second-degree sexual assault for an incident at his Willingboro home in October 2020.
According to the affidavit, Knox attended a Ewing house party with the victim and her husband on Oct. 3, 2020. The victim had known Knox for most of her life and considered him a "close family friend like an uncle to her," according to the affidavit.
Because of that relationship, when Knox became "highly intoxicated," the victim offered to take him to his Willingboro home around 1 a.m. and to stay the night, according to the document.
After offering the woman a change of clothes, Knox left the room while she changed but returned and attempted to kiss her and remove her clothing, investigators said.
She left the room to sleep on the living room couch and called her husband but did not mention what had happened, assuming Knox would "sleep it off," she told police. The victim said she fell asleep on the couch.
The woman later awoke to find Knox laying on top of her while trying to kiss her and saying he loved her, she told investigators.
She also realized her pants and underwear were past her knees and he had sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.
Knox apologized after she pushed him off and asked her not to tell anyone. She appeared at Willingboro police headquarters later that morning.
According to the complaint, Knox will appear in Burlington County Superior Court on Monday. The case will also be presented to a grand jury, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.
A spokesman on Thursday afternoon did not respond to a request for an explanation why it took nearly a year for Knox to be charged.
In May, the board approved Dr. Ja'Shanna Jones-Booker to be the district's acting superintendent.
Knox is listed on a school board meeting agenda as being on "Intermittent FMLA leave" (Family and Medical Leave Act).
Jones-Booker on Thursday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
The Trentonian was first to report on the incident.