The Princeton Record Exchange on South Tulane Street is a much-loved Princeton landmark, so it was a shock to all when longtime employee Brian C. Dornbach was accused in January of sexually molesting a girl with special needs.
Mr. Dornbach was arraigned on Monday before Judge Thomas M. Brown in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton. He entered a plea of not guilty.
According to a document received from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office and signed by Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr., Mr. Dornbach is accused of “using force or coercion” to touch a special needs teen over and/or under her clothing and having the victim touch him inappropriately. The charge is aggravated criminal sexual contact (a fourth degree offense) and endangering the welfare of a child. The latter third degree offense carries up to five years in state prison.
It is alleged that Mr. Dornbach molested the developmentally-challenged teen on multiple occasions over a period of two years between January 2011 and the end of December 2012. When the alleged acts took place, Mr. Dornbach and the teen were alone at various times at the store and other locations in Princeton.
Mr. Dornbach, who lives in Roebling, is 51. The girl is now 16, but was 15 when the alleged events took place.
Mr. Dornbach has worked at the Princeton Record Exchange since it opened in 1980. He is described as being known to the girl’s family. The teenager was left in his care at the record store on occasions when her father was visiting Princeton. In the indictment, Mr. Dornbach had on those occasions “assumed responsibility” for the girl, who lives in Denville.
The case came to light in January of this year when the teen victim described the activity to a confidante who then told her father. After her father alerted the Denville police, the Princeton Police Department was contacted and officers arrested Mr. Dornbach. He was taken to Princeton Police headquarters where he posted bail of $50,000.
On June 19, Mr. Dornbach appeared before a Mercer County grand jury.
Asked for comment about Monday’s arraignment of Mr. Dornbach, Princeton Record Exchange General Manager Jon Lampert was reluctant to respond other than to reiterate that he and others were shocked by Mr. Dornbach’s arrest. He said that Mr. Dorbach has been on administrative leave since January pending the outcome of the case.
The Princeton Record Exchange has twice been featured in the New York Times and once in Rolling Stone magazine. It is described as one of the best vinyl record stores in the nation. Owner Barry Weisfield was on vacation and not able to comment.
Mr. Dornbach’s next court appearance will be October 16 when he is to attend a “status conference” with Judge Brown.