Special Victims is comprised of Domestic Violence/Weapons, Sex Crimes, Megan’s Law, and Animal Cruelty.
Effective May 1, 2018, prosecution of Animal Cruelty cases was vested with the County Prosecutors. As a result, Humane Law Enforcement Officers (HLEO’s) are responsible for animal welfare and tasked with the detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders against the animal welfare and cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of their respective municipalities. Additionally, Ocean County has designated Assistant Prosecutors to serve as the animal cruelty prosecutors responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and taking other legal action, as appropriate, for violations of Title 4. HLEO’s are required to provide notice to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office through the County Humane Law Enforcement Law Enforcement Officers of all complaints of violations of Title 4.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office takes claims of bias attacks seriously and investigate them in accordance with the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Directive. Bias attacks and incidents generate fear, alienation, and concern among victims and the community. These incidents have the potential of reoccurring, escalating and possibly causing counter-violence. Municipal police departments are required to report suspected or confirmed bias incidents or crimes be reported to this Office within 24 hours. This Office prosecutes bias crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
Domestic Violence / Weapons
Domestic Violence / Weapons is responsible for the handling all Violations of Restraining Orders issued pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Assistant Prosecutors and Detectives are tasked with prosecuting these Violations and meet with victims to discuss their cases. Restraining Orders require that Defendants relinquish any weapons that they possess both on their person or in their home or under their control. This Unit deals with the multitude of weapon issues that result from their seizure including determining whether re-arming of police officers involved in domestic violence matters is appropriate. They also conduct investigations for weapons forfeiture cases and prepare them for hearings and trials in Superior Court. It is also responsible for dealing with requests by owners to have their weapons returned in mental health, probate and criminal cases.
Megan’s Law is responsible for the tiering, monitoring and compliance of Megan’s Law Offenders who have been convicted of sex crimes, luring, endangering the welfare of a child and kidnapping. Investigative personnel, including personnel from New Jersey State Parole, work with the local municipalities in monitoring offenders and ensuring that they register in the town in which they reside. Non-compliance results in arrest and detention pending future court proceedings. There are currently over seven hundred (700+) offenders that are continuously monitored within Ocean County.
The New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry may be found at https://njsp.org/sex-offender-registry/index.shtml.
Sex Crimes / Child Abuse
Sex Crimes / Child Abuse specializes in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving sexual abuse, physical abuse, abandonment and neglect of children as well as sexual assault of adults. In order to minimize trauma to the victims and their families, all cases are vertically prosecuted with the same Assistant Prosecutor and Detective assigned throughout the process. The members of the Sex Crimes / Child Abuse are specially trained to conduct investigations regarding sexual assault, as well as investigations into physical abuse, abandonment and neglect of children.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office utilizes its Sexual Assault Response Team (“SART”) to investigate and respond to the needs of the victims and their family. The goal in utilizing the SART approach to each reported incident is to ensure consistent and timely coordinated services, while decreasing the trauma experienced by many sexual assault victims. The SART members were specially trained to provide a compassionate, sensitive, and comprehensive care, as well as provide support to address the legal, medical, psychological and emotional needs of the victim. The SART team consists of a Forensic Nurse Examiner (“FNE”) – a Registered Nurse certified by the New Jersey Board of Nursing to provide comprehensive and compassionate health care to victims of sexual assault while ensuring that all potential evidence is collected in a timely and appropriate manner; a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate – a community volunteer who has received extensive training in order to provide support throughout the interview, medical and forensic exam and beyond; and a Law Enforcement Officer who has specialized training and experience in the area of sexual assault investigations.