Former Dover Mayor, Dodd, accused of covering up sexual Incident at City Summer Camp

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

Date 09/24/2020


Former Mayor James Dodd is accused of conspiring to cover up an improper sexual incident, that occurred between a camper in the Dover Summer program, while he was Mayor. The accused is Michelle Espada’s 19-year-old son. (name withheld due to stated disability.) Who apparently was employed by NJ Friendship House, a non-profit organization that helps Individuals find employment that suffer from disabilities. At the time Ms. Espada was the Assistant Recreation Administrator as well as Mayor Dodd’s Girlfriend.

Based on the statements from individuals close to the incident his mother, Michelle Espada had him assigned to clean the parks & recreation area. Where he met the alleged victim, an almost 15-year-old girl, in the Town of Dover’s summer camp program. A source close to the incident described what had apparently occurred between Ms. Espada’s son and the camper. However, these details are not disclosed to ensure the dignity & privacy of the minor.

Sources stated that after the minor’s parents became aware of the situation, they went to the Town of Dover to file a complaint. Where it is accused that Mayor James Dodd, with the help of key Town of Dover employees, arranged for it to all go away. With a substantial payment rumored to have been 40k. One of three witnesses, that came forward stated that the former police chief and an Individual in the Municipal court, may have offered advice on this cover up.

All this information was disclosed by sources, that did have direct access within the inner workings of the Town of Dover and the Recreation Department. But should not solely be relied on as proof of guilt. An investigation by state and local law enforcement should be done, to determine if there was any criminal or unethical interference by any of those involved.

After this incident it is stated that Ms. Espada’s son, was assigned to clean a municipal building on the night shift. In conjunction with the Town of Dover’s contract with the above-mentioned non-profit.

Most concerning to me is that three people notified the State of NJ, anonymously. The last notification was a year ago. At the time of this article, I have been made aware that both the Town of Dover & The Morris County Prosecutor’s office, are investigating this matter.

Anyone with any further information should reach out to law enforcement. If you do not feel comfortable, feel free to reach out to tips@ethicswatchnj.com, we always keep your identity protected.


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