Man convicted of sexually assaulting Irvington woman

Photo Courtesy of Essex County Prosecutor
Kervin Joseph-Michel, of Newark, was found guilty of sexual assault and kidnapping.

A 43-year-old man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in Irvington, who was accosted while carrying her three-week-old son.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced that an Essex County jury convicted Kervin Joseph-Michel of Newark, of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

On Nov. 4, 2015, Joseph-Michel kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in Irvington, after confronting her as she walked home carrying her three-week-old infant son.

The defendant was also convicted of assaulting the victim’s boyfriend who arrived home during the sexual assault. The victim recalled that the defendant repeatedly tried to engage her in conversation, but she rejected his advances and continued walking home, unaware that he was following her.

Once in her backyard, Joseph-Michel placed what he said was a gun to her back and forced her into the foyer of the home, where he sexually assaulted her while holding what was later determined to be a knife to her body.

On Feb. 7, following a trial before Superior Court Judge Ronald D. Wigler, the jury found Joseph-Michel guilty on six counts: first degree kidnapping, first degree aggravated sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, third degree aggravated assault, third degree endangering the welfare of a child and third degree criminal restraint.

The victim testified that during the sexual assault she feared her infant son, who she had to place on the floor, would cry and that the defendant would turn his attention to her son and harm him.

When the victim heard her boyfriend’s car approach, she came up with a plan. She asked the defendant to let her close the still-open door leading to the backyard. When he stepped back to allow her to get up, she grabbed her son from the floor and ran out the door to her boyfriend. The defendant followed and lunged at her boyfriend with the knife. During the ensuing struggle, the victim’s boyfriend disarmed the defendant, who then fled the scene on foot.

Both the forensic examination of the victim and the crime scene investigation revealed that the defendant’s DNA matched the DNA profile obtained from swabs taken during her examination and also matched blood on the knife that Joseph-Michel left at the scene. His DNA, moreover, matched the DNA profiles obtained from evidence in three other unsolved sexual assault cases in Irvington and Newark.

“We are extremely grateful and thankful to the jury for their careful consideration of the evidence in this case,” said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Celeste M. Montesino, who tried the case. “This verdict is a testament to the extraordinary courage and strength of the victim and her boyfriend whose resolve never faltered as they waited patiently for all these years to confront the defendant in court.”

The case was jointly investigated by the Irvington Police Department and by members of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. Sgt. Shawn Green and Police Officers Harriet Davis and Miles Brown investigated the case for Irvington police, while Deputy Chief of Detectives Nichele Patrick, Sgt. Miranda Mathis and Detectives Ana Colon, Michael Flowers and Malik Rivers assisted the investigation for the prosecutor’s office.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19. The defendant faces 15–30 years on the kidnapping charge and 10–20 years on the aggravated sexual assault charges. The defendant is pending trial on the three other sexual assault cases.