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February 26, 2004

Contact: Elaine Makatura DEP 292-2994
John Hagerty DCJ 984-1936


First Criminal Prosecution Under State Radiation Protection Act

(04/11) TRENTON - Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Attorney General Peter C. Harvey Department of Law and Public Safety announced that the DEP and the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) - Environmental Crimes Bureau charged a father and son with exposing employees and others to unnecessary radiation. From November 2000 to April 2003, during development of a medical digital x-ray detector, Cares Built Inc., an x-ray equipment sales and manufacturing company in Keyport, violated the law.

Regulatory and criminal charges were filed against Cares Built Inc., Timothy Telymonde, the former President and CEO of Cares Built, and his father, Andrew Telymonde totaling $724,900 in administrative penalties. Cares Built Inc., and Timothy Telymonde both received penalties of $319,400 and Andrew Telymonde was assessed $86,100.

"Andrew and Timothy Telymonde flagrantly violated the law and intentionally endangered their employees and members of the public by exposing them to unnecessary radiation," said Commissioner Campbell. "This administrative penalty represents the largest radiation related penalty ever issued by the DEP and is a testament to the magnitude of the violations and should serve as a deterrent to others."

"This is the first criminal prosecution for violations of the state's Radiation Protection Act," Attorney General Harvey said. "The charges contained in the criminal indictment and guilty plea outline egregious and potentially health-damaging behavior by the defendants in order to short-cut the testing and approval process for a new x-ray technology. Such nefarious business practices are abhorrent and will be investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney Generals Office."

The joint DEP and DCJ investigation determined that Timothy Telymonde and Andrew Telymonde took over 100 x-rays of 11 individuals. As part of Cares Built Inc.'s development of a medical digital x-ray detector, employees and members of the public were encouraged, and in some instances paid to have x-ray images taken. Those irradiated include a 19-year-old female, a 14-year-old boy, a 3-year-old girl, and a homeless person. The 19-year-old female was x-rayed as many as 50 times.

The investigation, which was initiated by an anonymous telephone complaint received by DEP, also revealed that the x-ray unit used was not registered with the Department, preventing inspectors from ensuring that the unit was in proper working order.

Additionally, Cares Built Inc. failed to provide required shielding to some of the individuals it x-rayed to protect their reproductive organs. Cares Built Inc. also neglected to provide adequate shielding around the x-ray tube to protect employees who were working in the general area from exposure to radiation. The facility seriously jeopardized the health of employees by failing to monitor and record employees' radiation exposure levels

Neither defendant was licensed to perform x-rays, nor was the company permitted to perform x-rays on human subjects for non-medical purposes. New Jersey law prohibits exposing humans to x-rays unless ordered by a licensed physician.

The State Grand Jury returned a four-count criminal indictment against Andrew Telymonde, 60, Skyline Drive, Lakewood, Ocean County - three counts of unlawful exposure to unnecessary radiation and one count of unlawful x-raying without a license. A separate criminal accusation charged Timothy Telymonde, 37, of First Street, Keyport, Monmouth County, with unlawful exposure of unnecessary radiation and unlawful x-raying without a license.

Timothy Telymonde pleaded guilty to the criminal accusation on Feb. 17 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Farren; sentencing is scheduled for April 2. The fourth degree charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000 per count.

The indictment against Andrew Telymonde was handed to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Charles A. Delehey on Feb. 23. The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Superior Court for trial. The defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

Division of Criminal Justice - Environmental Crimes Bureau and the DEP coordinated the criminal investigation.

The DEP maintains a 24-Hour Environmental Hot Line - 1-877-WARNDEP to receive reports of environmental crimes.



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