The Special Victims Bureau is composed of the Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit and the Megan’s Law task Force.
Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit is designed to effectively investigate and prosecute cases of sexual abuse and child physical or sexual abuse. The objective of the Unit is to aggressively develop these challenging cases while focusing at all times on what is in the best interests of the victims.
To this end, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has created an environment in which prosecutors, detectives and medical and mental health professionals work hand-in-hand from the time such a case enters the criminal justice system. The Unit includes assistant prosecutors, one of whom serves as the Unit director, detectives and support staff. These individuals also provide assistance and guidance to local police departments and education to public agencies and community groups throughout the county.
When an act of physical or sexual abuse against a child is reported, the Unit responds using a team approach intended to minimize the number of times that the child will be required to discuss the events and to minimize trauma to the child victim. A social worker employed in the Unit acts as a “multidisciplinary team coordinator” to ensure that, in the weeks and months following such a disclosure, the Unit can communicate at all times with the social services agencies and medical or mental health professionals who are working with the child. This method best prepares the child and the child’s family for the subsequent court process.
Similarly, when an adolescent or adult reports that she or he has recently been the victim of sexual assault, a physical examination of the victim is conducted by a forensic nurse who is specially trained to collect such evidence. This nurse, or “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner,” responds to the local hospital along with investigators and a rape care advocate from “180 – Turning Lives Around”. The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program was the first of its kind in the State of New Jersey and serves as a model for similar programs now being developed around the state. The coordinator of the program, herself a nurse, is also part of the Unit.
Once the criminal prosecution has been initiated, the Unit uses what is known as a “vertical” method of prosecution, in which a case is assigned to an assistant prosecutor prior to grand jury presentation. The assistant prosecutor meets with the victim of the crime prior to the grand jury presentation and personally handles grand jury action. That assistant prosecutor remains assigned throughout the arraignment, pretrial conference, trial, disposition and sentencing of the case. The assistant prosecutor is assisted through each of these stages by a Victim Witness Coordinator who is able to keep the victim and family members apprised of case progress. This method of prosecution is ideally suited to the particularly sensitive nature of the offenses handled by the Unit.
The goal of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit is to accomplish justice by securing the conviction of any person who violates our laws by victimizing children and sexually victimizing adults. In addition, the Unit is determined to minimize whenever possible the trauma experienced by the victims of these crimes. By designing a Unit that allows specially trained professionals to operate as a team, it is felt that the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is in an ideal position to accomplish these goals.
Megan’s Law Task Force
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Megan’s Law Task Force is responsible for the implementation and enforcement within Monmouth County’s 53 municipalities of the registration and community notification laws commonly known as “Megan’s Law”. The Task Force is comprised of Prosecutor’s Office staff from the legal, clerical and detective divisions working in a team approach under the supervision of an assistant prosecutor, a lieutenant and a sergeant.
Members of the Task Force coordinate their efforts with local law enforcement, probation and parole agencies. They also maintain communication with other county, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to develop as much information as possible about each registrant and, when applicable, assist with enforcement in other jurisdictions.
Detectives with the Task Force are actively engaged in locating and tracking eligible registrants and arresting violators of the Act. Detectives also team with local police departments to make community notifications as authorized by court order and otherwise permitted by law.
The assistant prosecutor assigned to the Task Force frequently appears at civil commitment hearings held at New Jersey State psychiatric hospitals for those who have been convicted of Megan’s Law offenses. Where there is evidence that an offender is mentally ill and continues to present a danger to the community, the assistant prosecutor represents the State of New Jersey in arguing that the offender must remain committed to the hospital.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Megan’s Law Task Force is committed to monitor registrants and provide community notification as aggressively as the law will allow.