January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Morris County

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Morris County

At the their meeting on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, the Morris County Freeholders proclaimed January 2017 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The objective of Human Trafficking Awareness Month is to educate county residents about human trafficking, and to ask them to be cognizant of the same to assist law enforcement rescue victims of this crime.

Human trafficking typically targets vulnerable women and non-English speaking people. There are two types of trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking. Sex Trafficking results in adult and child victims being subject to commercial sex against their will, while Labor Trafficking occurs when the victim is compelled to work or provide services against their will. Force, coercion or fraud are the common methods used by traffickers to control their victims.

In recognition of this public awareness campaign, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, as well as Human Trafficking Coordinators, Assistant Prosecutor Laura Magnone and Detective Supervisor Marshall Wang of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes / Child Endangerment Unit, were present during the issuance of the proclamation by the Freeholders.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has aggressively investigated and prosecuted several human trafficking cases under my tenure and will continue to do so,” said Prosecutor Knapp. “Working with the Coalition against Human Trafficking we have sought to educate the public to report any suspected trafficking. By doing so, we can hopefully help those victimized by this scourge. ”

If anyone observes suspicious activity that may be Human Trafficking, please immediately report the situation to your local police department or to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Paul Merkler at [email protected] or 973-285-6215.

FORMER TEACHER SENTENCED TO STATE PRISON FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF MINOR FEMALES

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Chief Rudolph Appelmann of the Montville Township Police Department announce that Jason Fennes, age 42, of Bloomfield, New Jersey was sentenced today by the Honorable Stephen J. Taylor, P.J.Cr., to 14 years New Jersey State Prison, subject to the No Early Release Act, Parole Supervision for Life and Megan’s Law.

The Defendant pleaded guilty on September 22, 2016 to two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault, crimes of the first degree in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)2(b), and three counts of Sexual Assault, in violation of N.J.S 2C:14-2(b), crimes of the second degree.

The crimes committed by Defendant came to light in December 2011 when a 13-year-old female reported that she had been sexually abused by Defendant when she was a student in his first grade class at William Mason School in Montville, N.J. Defendant was arrested on this charge on March 2, 2012. Thereafter, three additional victims disclosed that they had been sexually assaulted by Defendant while students in his first grade class in William Mason School. The assaults on the victims at the William Mason School occurred between 2005 and 2008. A fourth victim also came forward and reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Defendant when she was 14 years old and Defendant was her track coach at Butler High School during the 1996-1997 school year.

At the time of the plea, Defendant admitted in court to acts of sexual penetration with two victims and acts of sexual contact with the remaining three. All acts occurred while he was in a supervisory position, either as a track coach or a teacher.

Defendant has also pled guilty in Somerset County to a separate count of Sexual Assault upon a child. He is pending sentencing on that matter, which is being prosecuted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Meg Rodriguez represented the State in these proceedings.

Prosecutor Knapp would like to thank the Montville Township Police Department, specifically Captain Andrew Caggiano and Sergeant Christopher Keezer, as well as the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit for their combined efforts in this matter.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office encourages anyone with additional information related to these allegations and/or this Defendant to contact Lieutenant Steven Brylinski of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit at (973) 285-6200.

Any inquiries related to this press release can be directed to Agent Paul Merkler at 973-285-6215 or [email protected]

MAN SENTENCED IN CONNECTION WITH MAY 2014 ARMED ROBBERY AT MORRISTOWN MEDICAL CENTER

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces that Tyhan Lighty, age 45, with a last known address in Orange, New Jersey, has been sentenced to 10 years New Jersey State Prison with 85% parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act following his guilty plea to Armed Robbery, a crime of the first degree. The charges stem from a crime that occurred on May 18, 2014, in the parking garage of the Morristown Medical Center complex on Madison Avenue in Morristown.

The investigation originated from a May 18, 2014, report of an armed robbery in the parking garage of the Morristown Medical Center. Information revealed that a male who was armed with a handgun entered a parking lot complex office and demanded money from an employee. The suspect then fled the location.

During the robbery, the suspect used plastic zip ties to attempt to bind the victim’s wrists. Several of these zip ties were recovered from the scene by investigators and were submitted to the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences for examination. Forensic scientists identified DNA on a zip tie from the scene and concluded that Tyhan Lighty was the source of the DNA. On June 18, 2015, Lighty was arrested on an outstanding complaint-warrant related to this incident and was lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility, where he remained on bail until sentencing.

On December 6, 2016, Lighty pled guilty to Armed Robbery before the Honorable Thomas J. Critchley, J.S.C. At the time of the plea, Lighty admitted that he went to a parking garage at Morristown Medical Center, demanded money from the victim, and showed the victim a silver handgun to place her in fear.

Lighty appeared for sentencing before the Honorable Thomas J. Critchley, J.S.C. on January 20, 2017. The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutors Christopher Schellhorn and Sean Gaynor at sentencing.

Prosecutor Knapp stated: “This case was solved by outstanding police work performed by several different agencies. We thank all of them for their cooperation. All are to be commended.”

Prosecutor Knapp would like to acknowledge the Morristown Bureau of Police, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Section, the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Victim/Witness Unit for their collective efforts in securing this conviction.

Any inquiries about this press release may be directed to Public Information Officer Paul Merkler at 973-285-6200 or [email protected]