CAPE MAY - Chris Bezaire, 43, a realtor and Cape May City councilman, was arrested June 16 and charged with cyber harassment, stalking, disclosure of sexually explicit images of another person without their consent and contempt of court.
Bezaire was deemed a no-bail offender. He is inmate 47372 at the Cape May County Correctional Facility, as of June 21, where he awaits a June 23 detention hearing.
Since Bezaire is an elected official, he holds his office even while in jail. If he misses three consecutive meetings, the council could consider taking action to remove him, but they are not required to do so. Since he attended the June 15 meeting, the day before his arrest, any potential action by council could not come before mid-August. It appears that, for now, the council is waiting to see how things play out over the coming weeks.
The arrest is linked to accusations that surfaced in October 2020, when Bezaire was a candidate for council.
In early October 2020, an ex-girlfriend of Bezaire posted a statement alleging a violent domestic incident involving a person running for council. Bezaire was not directly named, but many in Cape May could not mistake the association.
Soon after, a political flyer appeared in city mailboxes with a picture of Bezaire on one side and a photo of a woman with a blackened eye on the other. Despite that, Bezaire won his seat on the governing body.
Later in 2020, Bezaire was in court battles attempting to stop four women from posting negative statements about him concerning claims that he abused one of the women in 2015.
Following the election, continued statements were issued by some of the women on Facebook, leading Bezaire to obtain temporary injunction orders against them (https://bit.ly/3vIdpzA). Prior to gaining the temporary injunction, Bezaire obtained restraining orders against two of the women, one of whomhad a restraining order against Bezaire since 2016.
Bezaire continuously maintained his innocence and said the allegations against him were politically motivated.
In 2020, Bezaire was left to explain away press reports that he had been arrested six times in 2015 for harassment and damage to property. One of those arrests involved an assault charge. None of the charges led to convictions and were disposed of in family court, a point Bezaire frequently made at the time.
The decision to hold Bezaire without bail is unusual, given the framework of the state’s bail reform legislation.
Under the new law, the courts generally consider three factors when deciding to release or incarcerate an individual awaiting court proceedings. The courts consider if the individual is likely to appear in court, presents a danger to the community, and is likely to engage in actions that will obstruct the criminal justice process. A release by Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland did not indicate why Bezaire required incarceration (https://bit.ly/3j54gP9).
Cape May Mayor Zack Mullock said the city is cooperating with the investigation. Mullock said he had no advanced knowledge of the investigation and only found out about the arrest when Cape May Police Chief Dekon Fashaw asked to see him.
Mullock said the “City of Cape May has no tolerance for harassment of any kind. All parties are entitled to due process, and that process will have to play itself out.”
Mullock added that given the ongoing investigation, “it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."
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