Moral apex: Carried on a sexual affair with a 13-year-old girl in 2000 â€” which nobody knew until early 2005, when it was learned heâ€™d been sleeping with another girl, 15. (Another student saw the 15-year-old and the then-56-year-old Collins kissing. Yeeech!)
Mini-apex: When he tried to coach the young witness, via the Internet, on what she should say to authorities. (He was arrested a second time for this offense, and subsequently prohibited from using computers.)
The plea: Guilty to two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one charge of third-degree witness tampering (bargained down from four counts of aggravated sexual assault, two counts of child endangerment, contempt of court, and witness tampering).
The sentence: Ten years in the state pen (seven years for each sexual assault charge, to run concurrently, plus three years for witness tampering), after which heâ€™ll have to register as a sex offender under Meganâ€™s Law, and be subject parole supervision for life.
â€¢ Collins was voted Memorial Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2003-04.
â€¢ He was also inducted into the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Elected Officialsâ€™ Hall of Fame in 2005 â€” the year he was arrested.
Ever so ironically: â€œInduction into the Mayorsâ€™ Hall of Fame or the Elected Officialsâ€™ Hall of Fame recognizes municipal officials who have selflessly guided their communities through the good times and troubled times with little recognition of their sacrifice. This token of appreciation will shine a light on these pillars in our communities and hold them up as an example of civic pride for all citizens to emulate.â€
One word for John J. Collins, borough councilmember: Combative. Skim the re-caps of Eatontown Borough meetings during Collinsâ€™ tenure, and youâ€™ll be struck by Collinsâ€™ incurably confrontational nature. He turned minor differences of opinion and imagined slights into the focus of a given meeting, and whined constantly about being in the â€œpolitical minorityâ€ (toward the end of his career, the council consisted of two Republicans versus four Democrats, including the mayor, for whom Collins appeared to harbor special animosity).
We at Armchair Psychoanalysis Central think that a man who invents reasons to feel powerless in a position of power is just the sort of man who would attempt to compensate for his imagined emasculation by preying on young, clueless girls.
Thatâ€™s what we think.
We also think the lady doth protest(ed) too much when the cityâ€™s Republicans engaged in shamefully dirty campaign tactics during the 2002 elections. (Or, in little-boy parlance: He who smelt it, dealt it.)
(Of course, it is pretty pathetic when the highlight of your decades-long political career involves a proposal to hire cattle dogs ["Geese Police"] to chase geese away from the local lake.)
God said, â€œHa!â€: Collins, whose hatred of Democrats was practically palpable, was ultimately replaced by â€” you guessed it â€” a Democrat.
Better yet: Eatontown voters filled the last council seat up for grabs with a second Democrat â€” beginning the New Year with an all-Democratic council.
â€¦hedonism, opportunism and exploitation of his position for his own narcissistic gratificationâ€¦
â€” Court-ordered psychological evaluation
on the reasons behind Collinsâ€™ actions
I resent you. I resent the way you used these girlsâ€™ love of music against them. Youâ€™re a typical wolf in sheepâ€™s clothing.
. . .
I hope [your prison sentence] feels like an eternity.
â€” Stepfather of one of the victims
at Collinsâ€™ sentencing
Who is this? He lived among us for 32 years as a single, sexual predator cell. [He] silently stalked his victims, whom he chose very carefully.
. . .
You will now be the student with infinite mentors awaiting you.
â€” Father of the older victim
to Collins, at his sentencing
I felt sick. The more it became clear that I was not the only one, the sicker I felt.
â€” Letter to the court from
Collinsâ€™ younger victim
I am a victim, a victim of extreme selfishness, with a good measure of stupidity thrown in.
. . .
Justice demands that I be punished. I understand that. I accept that. I donâ€™t like it, but I accept it.
â€” John J. Collins
at his sentencing
Unfortunate Choice of Words in Retrospect quotes:
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Eatontown Municipal Band under the baton of director John Collins.
â€” Notes Around Town
November 22, 2001
[The Memorial School Choir] director, Mr. John Collins, is one of the most fantastic directors of music that Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. He keeps the kids hopping.
â€” Eatontown Womanâ€™s Community Club president
Holidays a busy time for
Memorial School choir
December 27, 2001
â€œPopular with the choir year-in and year-out are â€˜Itâ€™s my party and Iâ€™ll cry if I want toâ€™ and â€˜Breaking up is hard to do,â€™ â€ [Collins] said. â€œâ€¦They enjoy singing â€˜Matchmakerâ€™ from Fiddler on the Roofâ€¦
It gives the people in the band who are more advanced an opportunity to display their talent â€” to strut their stuff, so to speak.
. . .
Iâ€™m also looking for flutes, which we need pretty badly.
â€” John Collins
Band preparing for holiday performances
November 29, 2002