Plea offer to Morristown rape suspect would eliminate sex charges

Brian K. Session, 47, appears at detention hearing in Morristown, Jan. 24, 2018. He is accused of rape, kidnapping, robbery and a slew of burglaries. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Brian K. Session, 47, appears at detention hearing in Morristown, Jan. 24, 2018. He is accused of rape, kidnapping, robbery and a slew of burglaries. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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A plea bargain offered on Tuesday to a man accused of raping a Morristown woman after attacking her with a stun gun last month would drop sexual assault and weapons charges in exchange for confessing to kidnapping and five burglaries.

Brian K. Session, 47, of East Orange, would serve at least 15 years (85 percent) of an 18-year sentence under terms of the deal, presented by Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez before Superior Court Judge Catherine Enright in Morristown.

Public Defender Sean O’Connor said he would discuss the offer with Session, who is being held in the Morris County Jail and did not attend the brief court proceeding.

They are due back in court with their answer on March 26, 2018. 

Session could face life behind bars if convicted on a slew of charges, Rodriguez told a judge last month.

The defendant, whose record includes at least 10 convictions for burglaries and other offenses since 1990, was burglarizing a Morristown apartment before lunchtime on Jan. 18 when he was surprised by the alleged victim’s return home from shopping, according to court records.

Session attacked the woman with a Taser, bound her, and sexually assaulted her, at one point draping a shirt over her head, then cutting a hole in it when she said she could not breathe, the records allege.

He was charged with three counts of aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping (all first degree crimes), six counts of burglary and three counts of attempted burglary, among other crimes.

Session “vehemently denies certain charges,” his public defender said last month. Court records indicate the defendant admitted carrying the stun gun and tying up the woman, but denied the rape to police.

Morristown police policies came under public scrutiny when authorities revealed Session also was suspected of several apartment burglaries in the weeks preceding the alleged assault.

Session confessed to breaking into three apartments on Ridgedale Avenue around Nov. 15, 2017, attempting to break into three more there, and burglarizing two Hill Street apartments on Dec. 5, according to authorities.

Managers of those apartment complexes were asked to alert their tenants to the burglaries, Police Chief Pete Demnitz said. But nearby homeowners and tenants said they were not warned of unsolved break-ins, or notified that a suspected rapist was on the loose.

Demnitz told the town council that the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office forbids commenting about ongoing investigations of serious crimes. However, he had been monitoring the rape case, he said, and knew the community was in no peril. Session was arrested a day after the alleged sexual assault, in another county.

As for burglaries, the police chief said he generally has not publicized them, partly because of sensitivities expressed over the years by the business community about the town’s image.

At a special public meeting convened by Mayor Tim Dougherty, Demnitz promised to change that policy.  Since then, police have reported at least one burglary via the town-wide Nixle messaging service.

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