Police: Ex-chief wanted to set up prostitution business

Published in the Asbury Park Press 4/15/04

In an undercover sting, former Chatham Township Police Chief Thomas E. Ramsey was caught trying to set up a prostitution business with a female convict in Mount Olive, promising her he could bring security and unique qualifications to the enterprise, authorities said yesterday.

News of Ramsey's arrest Tuesday morning in Mount Olive on a charge of promoting prostitution floored friends and neighbors, who know the married, 54-year-old Long Valley resident as a pillar of the law enforcement community in Morris County, though he had a brush with trouble last year.

Morris County authorities, including Prosecutor Michael M. Rubbinaccio and his Chief of Investigations Joseph Devine, said Ramsey met with Hopatcong resident Debbra Allyn Koeppel, 41, at least twice, including the day of his arrest, to discuss a prostitution enterprise. Ramsey allegedly outlined a business plan to Koeppel, including hours of service, and told her he could provide protection and experience, and had law enforcement connections that would ward off discovery of their scheme, authorities said.

He said he was uniquely qualified to provide this for her, Devine said. Office Capt. Joseph Cannatella added, "He said he had the ability to protect her racket."

Rubbinaccio said an investigation is continuing into the alleged plans between the two and comments Ramsey made about particular experience.

Ramsey, a father of three -- including a son who is a Denville police officer and a son serving with the Army's 101 Airborne Division -- left Chatham Township in 1998 after 26 years.

© 2004 Gannett New Jersey Group
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