Christopher Denn

Christopher Denn, right, at a court appearance in September.

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The case against an Ocean City lifeguard accused of fondling himself in front of a woman over the summer could be headed for a resolution.

Christopher Denn, who is charged with criminal sexual contact and lewdness, stood with his hands behind his back Thursday during a pre-indictment conference before Cape May County Superior Court Judge Michael Donohue. Denn also is a teacher at Mainland Regional High School.

Denn, 48, of Ocean View, allegedly exposed and fondled his genitals in front of a woman while he was working as a lifeguard July 29 in Ocean City, according to the complaint. Mainland Superintendent Mark Marrone declined to say whether Denn was still actively working in the district.

He is still listed on the high school’s website.

Following the hearing, attorney John Tumelty said he is in talks with the Prosecutor’s Office and is optimistic the case will be resolved before indictment, adding the woman who accused Denn is a fellow lifeguard.

“There has never been any type of allegation whatsoever against him,” neither as a lifeguard nor as a teacher, Tumelty said. “So we’re looking into the credibility of the allegation.”

If a resolution is not reached, the case would go before a grand jury for indictment.

The woman, who was not identified, reported to coworkers that Denn exposed himself to her at 2 p.m. on the Surf Road beach in a lifeguard stand with 300 to 500 beachgoers present. He was arrested Aug. 9.

During a just over 30-second hearing, Tumelty asked Donohue to take the case off the pre-indictment list, and Assistant Prosecutor Bryna Batten did not object.

Denn only spoke during the appearance when Donohue asked him whether he understood he wouldn’t be getting another court date and that he would be notified if he was indicted, to which he answered affirmatively.

He left the courthouse quickly after the hearing.

Marrone released a statement after Denn’s arrest saying district officials were aware of the allegations.

“We take all such allegations seriously and will evaluate the matter and respond as necessary,” Marrone said.

The defense is conducting its own investigation, collecting witness statements and police reports and sharing what they have with the state, Tumelty said.

“There are no eye witnesses to this,” he said. “So this case is a pure credibility case.”

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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