Prosecutors have dropped child sex charges brought against a Glen Rock resident and business owner earlier this year, court records show.
Richard Lester, 56, was arrested in February after a grand jury indicted him on four counts of sexual assault that had allegedly occurred between Jan. 2011 and 2012, on a female victim who was then three years old.
On Aug. 4, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli signed a motion to dismiss the charges "due to newly discovered exculpatory evidence," which was accepted by the Bergen County Superior Court.
According to his attorney,
Joseph Rem Jr., Lester voluntarily submitted to two polygraph tests following
his arrest, one of which was administered by an examiner from the prosecutor’s office, and
passed both. Rem contended that authorities had no other "credible evidence of wrongdoing."
A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
“I am extremely relieved that this is finally over,” Lester said. “These last six months have been an unbelievable nightmare for me and my family. You can’t imagine what it is like to be falsely accused based on an unsubstantiated allegation without further evidence, especially when you know that you did absolutely nothing wrong.”
Lester, who founded the Glen
Rock-based environmental consulting firm Garden State Environmental, said that
since the news of his arrest was reported by multiple media outlets in March, the allegations have had a "serious negative effect" on his professional and personal reputation.
“Can you imagine being a 56-year old man dedicated to his family and community, with a sterling professional and business reputation and no prior criminal record [and] being publicly charged with an allegation only to then be found to have been innocent?” Rem remarked.
According to Lester, while he has been treated as “guilty until proven innocent” in the media and public opinion, friends and family have supported him throughout the legal ordeal.
“At least now I finally have my life back, I can sleep at night and now will work to restore my reputation,” he said.