Day: January 8, 2021

Brooklyn Man Charged With Luring And Sexual Assaulting A 13 Year Old

January 8, 2021

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Brooklyn man accused of luring and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child in a Wall Township motel back in November is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Facility following his arrest in Rockland County, New York last month, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michael Torenheim, 33, of Brooklyn, New York was arrested in Spring Valley, New York, by members of the U.S. Marshals Service, New Jersey State Police and Wall Township Police Department. Torenheim now faces charges of second degree sexual assault, second degree luring and third degree endangering the welfare of a child. The charges were the result of a joint investigation of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Wall Township Police Department.

The investigation began after the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Bureau received a report that Torenheim sexually assaulted a 13-year-old child in a motel in Wall Township. The investigation determined Torenheim met the child in Lakewood and drove him to Wall Township where the offense was committed. Wall Township Police were notified and joined the investigation.

Investigators are seeking additional information about Torenheim’s activities and are concerned about the potential for additional victims. Anyone with additional information is urged to call 1-800-533-7443 to speak with MCPO Detective Joshua Rios.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; or, they can post their tip at https://www.p3tips.com/1182 Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

If convicted of the second degree charges, Torenheim faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of third degree chare, he faces up to 5 years in state prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fichter.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Trenton Catholic Academy Will Close Its Doors In June

January 8, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)-It was announced today that Trenton Catholic Academy will close its doors in June 2021.

Statement from Mayor Jeff Martin:

“It is a sad day for the Diocese of Trenton, Trenton Catholic Academy (TCA) and Hamilton Township, said Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin.  Whether known as St. Anthony’s, McCorristin or TCA, there has always been a great partnership between the school and the Township.  Hamilton is committed to helping TCA and the Diocese in the months to come.  On behalf of the Township, I thank them for their nearly 60 years of providing a high quality, well-rounded education to those in our greater Hamilton community.”    

Statement posted on the Diocese of Trenton website:

TRENTON CATHOLIC ACADEMY TO CLOSE IN JUNE; DIOCESE TO OFFER RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS TO CONTINUE CATHOLIC EDUCATION

In the last 15 years, Trenton Catholic Academy’s Upper and Lower Schools in Hamilton Township have built a strong legacy in the areas of academics, athletics, faith formation and service to the community. With limited funding and resources, the pre-K3 through 12th grade school has successfully served tens of thousands of students from diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, aided significantly through diocesan subsidy and a specially-established fund, as well as a strong network of benefactors, community partners and supporters of its mission.

Since opening its doors, the Upper School has graduated nearly 1,000 students, sending many of them to top colleges and universities.  TCA alumni have gone on to prestigious careers and several have advanced to play professional sports.  Most importantly, the school has succeeded in meeting the hopes of the school’s late founding president St. Joseph Sister Dorothy Payne, who wanted her students to be: “Good kids that live good lives that make the world a better place.”

Unfortunately, the growing cost of providing a quality, innovative education has consistently outpaced tuition and fundraising income, leaving the school with a $2 million deficit each year and a cumulative need for $24 million in financial support over the past 12 years.  Additionally, the special fund once established for the school has been nearly depleted.  The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to families’ abilities to afford tuition and to strategic plans that had aimed to increase revenue.  As a result, the Diocese of Trentonhas regretfully accepted the recommendation of TCA president Michael Knowles that the Upper and Lower Schools — which together educate some 550 students — should close this coming June.

Acknowledging that every possible option was considered before reaching this conclusion, Knowles stated, “We have truly been blessed by so many generous people who believed in this mission and backed it up with their ‘sweat equity.’”  Knowles, who has served as president since the death of Sister Dorothy in 2019, added, “We have had the most incredible leadership and dedication in our administration, our faculty and our staff. We are very proud of all of our students and the difference they will continue to make in their communities and beyond.”

Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt pointed to steps that the Diocese will take to assist TCA students transitioning to a new Catholic school next year.  He said, “TCA students will be welcomed at Notre Dame High School in nearby Lawrenceville and at a number of Catholic elementary schools in close proximity to TCA so that Catholic education might continue to be available in Mercer County.”

Dr. Schmidt also announced that the Diocese of Trenton intends to make some transitional scholarship monies available for the 2021-22 school year to students seeking to continue their education in one of the Catholic schools affiliated with the Diocese or its parishes.  Knowles said that with the funds made available by the Diocese, a transition plan will be worked out with TCA families.

A team of diocesan representatives will meet with the 57 TCA employees to review severance and benefits packages, and to offer assistance in finding employment.


Statement by US Rep Chris Smith on death of USCP Officer Brian Sicknick

January 8, 2020

On the murder of Officer Brian D. Sicknick by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

“Words are inadequate to convey my sadness, shock and anger over the murder of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick who courageously fought the violent mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday.

As a member of the New Jersey National Guard, Mr. Sicknick safely deployed during Operation Southern Watch in 1999 and Enduring Freedom in 2003 only to be killed in the line of duty defending Members of Congress and staff and the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress. 

He died a hero and deserves our eternal gratitude for his sacrifice.

My wife Marie and I—and my family and staff—offer our deepest condolences to and prayers for his family, friends and colleagues.

Like others bravely serving in law enforcement, the Capitol Police face significant risks and hardship, including death, every day and absolutely deserve our unwavering support. The perpetrator(s) of this heinous crime must be swiftly brought to justice.”

UPDATE: Trenton man arrested in Hamilton crash that left two pedestrians seriously injured

January 8, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

See previous MidJersey.News story here: Two pedestrians left seriously injured in hit & run crash


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): On Tuesday December 1, 2020 at approximately 9:12am, a motor vehicle crash occurred on E. State St and Norway Ave, where two pedestrians were struck by a 2013 black Honda Civic 4 door. Both pedestrians were transported to Capital Health at Fuld for serious injuries in the crash. After the collision, the operator and passenger fled the scene on foot.

During the investigation by Officer J. Galant, probable cause was determined that Daquan Picott, 31 year old male from Trenton, was the driver that fled the scene of the crash. Arrest warrants were issued for Picott for Assault by Auto, Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Serious Bodily Injury, and Endangering an Injured Victim.

On January 8, 2021, Picott was located and taken into custody by the Trenton Police Department.  He was transferred to the Mercer County Detention Center and held without bail.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.



Governor Murphy Marks Start of COVID-19 Vaccination Effort for Sworn Law Enforcement and Fire Professionals

Morris County Regional Vaccination Center Now Open to Frontline Health Care Workers, Police and Fire First Responders

January 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)/ROCKAWAY, NJ (MORRIS)–Ernest Doggett, III., Trenton Firefighter, who also is also an EMT, and rides Engine 6 as the Interim Captain, received his COVID-19 vaccine today in Morris County. Governor Phil Murphy was in attendance to observe police and firefighters receiving their vaccinations.

Governor Phil Murphy, joined by New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Superintendent of the State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw, and labor officials, visited the Morris County Regional Vaccination Center today to highlight the beginning of New Jersey’s vaccination effort for sworn law enforcement and fire professionals.

All sworn law enforcement and fire professionals in New Jersey are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which is estimated to include about 55,000 individuals. These first responders are the first individuals in Phase 1B to become eligible for vaccination. EMS professionals, also considered first responders, are already eligible for the vaccine under Phase 1A as health care workers.

“Throughout this pandemic, our first responders have continued to save lives and protect our communities, and I am proud today that we are able to provide them with this added level of protection as they continue to do their jobs,” Governor Murphy said. “When we’re ready to move forward, this site will serve as one of six megasites for the general public to receive their vaccinations. With hundreds of thousands of preregistrations already received, we know there will be a strong demand when that day arrives.”

“We’re all used to charging head-on into potentially dangerous situations, but COVID-19 has added a whole new layer of uncertainty and change for all of us,” said John Alderton, a career firefighter and EMT with the Morris Township Fire Department. “This vaccine is the first step of us moving in the right direction.  Thank you Governor Murphy for bringing this vaccine to not only first responders, but hopefully in the near future, to every New Jersey resident.”

“These megasites will be able to handle a large volume of individuals as we continue to move through eligible phases of vaccination toward the general public,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “The sites are part of a growing network of community-based sites that will help ensure fair and equitable access and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines.”

“I’m grateful that Governor Murphy, Commissioner Persichilli, and the Department of Health have opened these mega-sites, and have made vaccinations for COVID-19 available for police and fire professionals across the state,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “Our first responders have demonstrated extraordinary heroism, dedication, and resilience in answering the call to serve during this pandemic, and routinely put themselves in harm’s way. I strongly encourage all law enforcement who live or work in the state to get vaccinated and help stop the spread of this virus.”

“We memorialized a lot of New Jerseyans over the past several months,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the State Police. “This vaccine will save lives. The fact that this megasite and sites like it around New Jersey are up and running is a testament to this collective team effort.”

“This vaccine megasite in Morris County marks a monumental step for New Jersey residents, particularly our healthcare providers and first responders who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “The collaboration across state, county, local levels alongside the incredible team at Atlantic Health puts all of us on the path to greater safety and well-being. I fought for vaccine distribution funding in the latest coronavirus package and I’ll continue to fight to get the resources necessary from the federal government.”

“This is a tremendous logistical undertaking by Morris County in partnership with Atlantic Health System and the State of New Jersey,” Stephen H. Shaw, Director of the Morris County Board of Commissioners said. “Our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management worked tirelessly through the holiday season with Atlantic Health to identify and transform an empty retail space into a large scale, safe, secure regional vaccination facility. Morris County remains steadfast in its commitment to allocate the resources necessary to protect the public health. We anticipate being able to inoculate as many as 2,400 individuals daily at this facility. Our thanks go out to Atlantic Health for its contributions of staff and assets, Governor Murphy for his support, everyone in our Offices of Public Health and Emergency Management, the National Guard, our Sheriff and all the healthcare workers who have made this possible.”

“The arrival of safe and effective vaccines represents a landmark moment in our fight against COVID-19, making this center a place of hope and healing for our entire region,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “On behalf of patients and caregivers across New Jersey, I want to thank Governor Murphy and Morris County leaders for their tremendous support and partnership.  Together, we are taking the next big step forward in protecting our friends, neighbors and communities.  I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunity to receive their vaccinations as soon as they are eligible.”

“We are happy to see that Governor Murphy is moving forward quickly to make Covid-19 vaccines available to law enforcement and firefighters,” said Bob Fox, President of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police. “His immediate response is greatly appreciated by law enforcement.”

“PFANJ fire fighters & EMT’s serve as the first link in the COVID-19 response,” said Steve McConlogue, President, Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey. “These environments are unstructured, unprotected and place our members near COVID-19 patients, causing increased exposure for the responder. Many COVID- 19 patients are treated by a fire fighter or EMT before they are transported to a hospital for further care. Additionally, fire fighters and EMTs often respond to emergencies unrelated to whether a caller has COVID-19 only to later learn that they were exposed to the virus. We are encouraged to see the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine made available to all firefighters in New Jersey, we have been on the frontlines battling this virus since March.  A COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to protect fire and EMS personnel from this pandemic. Along with ensuring that the proper PPE is available, priority access to a vaccine allows emergency responders to have another tool to protect themselves and the community as a whole. Scientific reports have indicated that fire fighters, paramedics and EMTs are proportionately far more likely to contract COVID-19 than the general public due to their on-the-job exposures. We thank Governor Murphy and his team for answering the call on behalf of firefighters.  The International Association of Fire Fighters have worked tirelessly with federal, state and local officials to protect their members, and make fire fighters, paramedics & EMTs a top priority level for COVID-19 vaccines.”

“Our members battled through this pandemic since last March and we have shared in the struggle and pain with the residents we protect,” said Wayne Wolk, Executive Vice President, New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association. “We are grateful to have worked with Governor Murphy and his administration to be sure NJ first responders had the tools to safely provide the front line protection day in and day out.  Being moved up in the queue to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is another testament to that support.”

“I would like to thank the Governor and the Health Departments decision to listen to our pleas and move our states brave law enforcement and firefighters up on the vaccine list,” said Pat Colligan, President of the New Jersey State Police Benevolent Association. “Our law enforcement officers, whether they were working on a cell block or responding to calls for service were truly “first responders” from the very beginning of this pandemic and continue to be the first on the scene on virtually every call for service. We are looking forward to putting this pandemic in the rear view mirror and we are sure this will help expedite that.” 

“We are very proud to announce that due to the support of Governor Murphy, along with the clinical guidance of New Jersey’s top medical professionals, we have completed one of our first mega sites located in Morris County for administering vaccines to New Jersey’s citizens,” said Pete J. Stilianessis, President, State Troopers NCO Association. “We’re very proud to have played our part in this very important milestone to recovery for New Jersey and the citizens that we have served throughout this pandemic. We are appreciative to have one of our NCO’s take the lead on being the first Trooper to receive this life changing breakthrough vaccine. We look forward to working with our Governor and other branches in government for further successes until we can finally return to normalcy.”

“The State Troopers Fraternal Association applauds Governor Murphy and his entire team for their aggressive, swift, and committed response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wayne Blanchard, President, State Troopers Fraternal Association. “Since March, Governor Murphy has had to make many difficult decisions in order to keep the best possible containment of the COVID-19 virus. The arrival of the vaccines has given us new hope in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor and his administration have been on the front lines and have been efficiently distributing the vaccines since their arrival. Today marks a special place in the history in the fight against COVID-19 as Governor Murphy has recognized the significant challenges and risks the STFA members face daily in the performance of their duties during the pandemic. To date, over 150 STFA members have contracted the COVID-19 virus and the safety of the citizens of the State of New Jersey depends on their health. We are truly grateful to Governor Murphy for streamlining the vaccination process for our men and women who must respond when called upon even during the perils of the pandemic. In addition, we laud the Governor and his team for the coordination of many vaccination sites but in particular sites such as the Morris County Mega Vaccination site, which has tremendous capabilities for safe, orderly, and large-scale vaccinations.”




Loss of United States Capital Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, NJ Native

January 8, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy released a statement this morning about the death of the United States Capital Police Officer who is a NJ native from South River. Officer Brian D. Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sicknick was a graduate from Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools. He was also a Staff Sergeant with the NJ Air National Guard where he was a fire team member at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.



Statement from Governor Phil Murphy:

“United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick embodied the selfless spirit of his native state. 

Officer Sicknick was a product of South River and a graduate of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools. Before joining the Capitol Police, he was Staff Sergeant Sicknick with the New Jersey Air National Guard. He was a Fire Team Member and Leader with the 108th Security Force Squadron, 108th Wing, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and his six years of service included overseas deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends, as well as to his United States Capitol Police colleagues and the Guardsmen and Guardswomen he served alongside. We thank him for his service to our nation.

Officer Sicknick gave his life protecting the United States Capitol, and by extension, our very democracy, from violent insurrection. His needless murder at the hands of a mob bent on overthrowing the Constitution he had dedicated his life to upholding is shocking. It is my fervent hope that the rioters whose actions directly contributed to his death are quickly identified and brought to justice.”


Loss of USCP Officer Brian D. Sicknick

January 7, 2021 Official United States Capital Police Press Release:

At approximately 9:30 p.m. this evening (January 7, 2021), United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty. 

Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters.  He returned to his division office and collapsed.  He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners. 

Officer Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department’s First Responder’s Unit. 

The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague. 

We ask that Officer Sicknick’s family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this time.