More details about alleged sex assault of child in Morristown park

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A homeless man accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old in a Morristown park this month allegedly told the boy he was “hungry,” and then reached into the child’s pants and committed an act of digital penetration.

The boy’s mother was on the other side of the Abbett Avenue playground, around 4:45 pm on May 9, 2024, when the boy was assaulted by John Dowd, 56, according to an arrest report filed by Morristown Detective Mark Underhill.

Authorities became aware of the situation on May 15, when they were contacted by an investigator from the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, according to a probable cause affidavit filed with Morristown Municipal Court.

Morristown Detective John Sweetman interviewed the child, who said the assault had hurt him; the boy’s mother corroborated that account and said her son had been bloodied, the affidavit stated.

Later on May 15, the alleged victim and his mother returned to the park and saw the suspect there. That individual “was captured on camera and later identified as defendant John Dowd,” the affidavit states.

Dowd has been charged with first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault and third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He is being held in the Morris County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Morris Prosecutor’s Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit at (973) 285-6200, or Morristown police at
(973) 538-2200.

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