Day: May 6, 2020

Trenton’s West Ward Councilwoman Robin M. Vaughn Issues Apology

May 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–West Ward Councilwoman Robin M. Vaughn has issued an apology for a anti-LGBTQ statements made during a coronavirus call on Saturday May 2, 2020. Those prior stories can be found here:

Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora Responds To Councilwoman Vaughn’s anti-LGBTQ Attacks

After anti-LGBTQ Attacks Against Trenton Mayor, Garden State Equality Calls For Councilwoman Robin Vaughn To Step Down



West Ward Councilwoman Robin M. Vaughn has issued an apology it reads:

I apologize. That must be the first that that you hear from me. I am deeply and specifically sorry for the language that has offended so many. It was also not my intent to to attack anyone on the basis of any classification or personal preferences, but should have been more sensitive to the potential implication of my words and how they might be perceived. In any event, the language used and statements were not appropriate and I regret letting my emotions get the best of me.

I was wrong and I own that. As an elected official, my responsibility to the citizenry is to represent with dignity, decency and respect of all the persons, no matter our individual differences, behaviors or presentations.

Again, I ask that you hear my apologies, to my fellow elected council members. I was out of order, and as a result, we were collectively ineffective in delivering the critical information that is paramount to the safety, care and well-being of our communities in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

I remain completely focused on the immense task at hand. Only though the cooperation of our varied entities will we meet the challenge. Please share that goal with me.

Respectfully submitted,

West Ward Councilwoman Robin M. Vaughn

Dwayne Harris Resigning as Trenton City Clerk

Served Capital City Since Summer 2017

May 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora paid tribute to City Clerk Dwayne Harris who is stepping down effective May 22, 2020. Mr. Harris has held the office for the past three years, joining the City of Trenton from Atlantic Highlands in July of 2017.

“Dwayne has been an exemplary civil servant selflessly serving Council City residents,” Trenton’s Mayor said on Wednesday when he learned that the Clerk would be ending his tenure. “It’s often a thankless but vital job.”

Prior to serving the City of Trenton, Mr. Harris was the Clerk and Registrar for the Borough of Atlantic highlands for almost 14 years.

Mr. Harris stated that “It’s been an honor to serve Trentonians in our State’s Capital over these years. I want to make sure that I thank every member of my office, who have made my job a pleasure. Trenton deserves only the best, and most dedicated, public servants.”

Law Director John Morelli, whose work often overlaps with the Clerk’s in dealings with legislation, noted that “it’s easily one of the most important positions in local government. As it currently stands our Clerk’s office is a well-oiled machine. I’d put the job that he’s done against anyone else.”

Mayor Gusciora noted that the regional search for a replacement would begin immediately.

“Once we get clearance from COVID quarantines, we’ll need a steady hand to help guide us in reopening City Hall to the public,” concluded Gusciora.  “We’re going to miss Dwayne, and the stability that he brought to all dealings with the Council and Trenton residents.”

Loose Horse “Sally” Located

May 6, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Schroeder Park located at Brook Lane and Scattergood Avenue on a report of a loose horse. Responding officers were able to safely secure Sally and keep her calm by feeding her apples. The owner of Sally resides on Cypress Lane and responded to the scene to safely take custody of the uninjured Sally. It was further learned that Sally is a rescued horse from Kentucky that the owner has been taking care of for the past month.

Governor Murphy Announces Team of Experts with National Experience to Conduct Review of New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Facilities

May 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced that New Jersey has engaged a team of experts with national experience to conduct a rapid review of the state’s 575 long-term care facilities to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and reduce impacts of future outbreaks. The team will produce a set of recommendations for the New Jersey Department of Health and long-term care facilities, as well as advise on potential state or federal action to improve quality, safety, and resilience within New Jersey’s long-term care system. These recommendations will guide how long-term care facilities can safely reopen for residents and staff after the current COVID-19 outbreak and address mitigation, protection, and resiliency against future outbreaks. The Department of Health will continue implementing protocols, inspections, and testing at all long-term care facilities while this review takes place

The team of experts will be led by Cindy Mann, a 30-year expert in federal and state health policy who ran Medicaid in the Obama Administration as former Deputy Administrator at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Carol Raphael, former Chief Executive Officer and President of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, as well as the former board chair of AARP.

“New Jersey has tragically lost many lives to COVID-19, with half of our statewide deaths of individuals within the long-term care system,” said Governor Murphy. “We have seen COVID-19 ravage long-term care facilities nationwide as this virus poses a unique threat to our most vulnerable populations. The solutions we find here in New Jersey will protect both residents and staff in the long-term care system and serve as a national model for mitigation, protection, and resiliency against future outbreaks.”

“In New Jersey and across the nation, COVID-19 has devastated our long-term care facilities,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We’ve delivered 10.7 million in PPE, inspected 60 facilities, curtailed admission at several homes, sent federal Veterans Administration staff into veteran’s homes and issued 18 guidance documents curtailing visitation and requiring monitoring of residents for respiratory symptoms. Now, we are testing residents and staff statewide. We look forward to working with this team of experts to ensure that we can do everything possible to protect our most vulnerable population.” 

“The impact of COVID-19 on New Jersey’s long-term care facilities has been unmistakably tragic,” said Senator Joe Vitale. “Engaging a national team of experts will ensure that we address the challenges currently facing these facilities, while implementing best practices to protect residents and staff moving forward. I’m encouraged to see the Murphy Administration taking this process seriously and holding our long-term care facilities to the highest standard on behalf of New Jersey’s residents.”

“We have an obligation to those living and working in New Jersey’s long-term care facilities to conduct a thorough and immediate review in response to this unprecedented crisis,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle. “At the same time, consulting a team of national experts will help us develop forward-looking solutions to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the future. I fully support the Governor’s initiative to achieve systemic reform on behalf of our most vulnerable population.”

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Extending Public Health Emergency in New Jersey

May 6, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 138 which extends the Public Health Emergency declared on March 9, 2020 through Executive Order No. 103 and extended on April 7 through Executive Order No. 119. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed. “Extending this declaration ensures that we can continue using every resource at our disposal to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “But I want to ensure that this extension is not interpreted to mean that we are reconsidering our path forward or changing course on the principles I laid out last week in the Road Back plan. We will continue to stand by these principles and protect public health as we responsibly take steps to get the economy moving again.”Executive Order No. 138 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the full text of Executive Order No. 138, click here.

67 Year Old Monmouth County Man Charged With Receipt Of Child Pornography

Sixty-seven-year-old Man Purported to be a Teenager on Facebook to Induce Minor to Send Sexually Explicit Images

May 6, 2020

Complaint Can be downloaded here

NEWARK, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man has been charged with knowingly receiving images of child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Herman Christopher Jensen, 67, of Union Beach, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of knowingly receiving child pornography. He was arrested on May 6, 2020, and appeared by teleconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson. Jensen was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The FBI began investigating Jensen for assuming the identity of a 17-year-old boy in order to entice and solicit a minor to send nude and sexually explicit images over the internet. Jensen did this by creating a fake Facebook account, purporting to be a teenaged boy named “Kevin Bennett.” From January 2018 through August 2018, Jensen used the “Kevin Bennett” Facebook account to communicate with the minor victim, causing the victim to believe the victim was in a involved in a romantic relationship with “Kevin Bennett.”

Jensen requested nude and semi-nude photographs from the victim through Facebook’s messenger service. The victim obliged to his requests. As time went on, Jensen received increasingly explicit videos.

In August of 2018, Jensen revealed to the victim that he was not, in fact, the teenager he purported to be, but instead, an adult named Chris Jensen. The victim continued to communicate with Jensen via the “Chris Jensen” Facebook account. In December 2018, the victim traveled to New Jersey to live with Jensen, where Jensen began having sex with the minor victim.

On Dec. 19, 2018, local authorities became involved in the matter causing the removal of the minor victim from Jensen’s residence.

The charge of knowingly receiving child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, and a statutory maximum fine equal to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI and its Red Bank Resident Agency Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Union Beach, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Michael J. Woodrow, for assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Frauds Unit in Newark.

The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defense counsel: Candace Hom Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender