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AVALON - Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland and Avalon Police Chief Jeffrey Christopher announced the grand jury indictment of Jerry Shields, 31, on sexual assault and witness tampering charges. 

A Nov. 27 joint release stated that on Nov. 26, Shields was indicted by a Cape May County grand jury for one count of sexual assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, one count of witness tampering, one count of contempt, and one count of terroristic threats. 

The indictment resulted from a joint investigation by detectives from the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office and Avalon Police Department that began in October 2018 due to a report of a sexual assault. 

As a result of the initial investigation, on Dec. 5, 2018, Shields was arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. 

In September 2019, the County Prosecutor's Office received additional information regarding allegations of witness tampering in connection with the initial investigation. 

Those additional allegations were investigated and, as a result Shields was arrested a second time Sept. 17, 2019 in New York and additionally charged with witness tampering and contempt of court. 

Shields was later extradited to New Jersey and is lodged in the Cape May County Correctional Facility pending court proceedings. 

Sutherland extended thanks to the Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Department for its assistance in the investigation.

He urged anyone with more information relating to the case to contact the County Prosecutor's Office at 609-465-1135 or report it anonymously through the County Sheriff's Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on an anonymous tip, or through Cape May County Crime Stoppers 609-465-2800.

The above was received from a law enforcement agency. The person named is innocent unless proven otherwise.

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