NJ Corrections Officer Charged with Criminal Child Abuse in Bergen County
A Bergen County, NJ woman was recently arrested and charged with criminal child abuse after a child reportedly showed up to school with bruised arms and legs. Although authorities did not provide the nature of the specific relationship between the woman and child, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced that the woman was arrested after law enforcement received a call from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”). The suspect, who is also a state corrections officer, was charged with fourth degree child abuse and then released with a summons to appear in court on November 13, 2017.
According to N.J.S.A. 9:6-3, “any parent, guardian, or person having the care, custody, or control of any child, who shall abuse, abandon, be cruel to or neglectful of such child, or any person who shall abuse, be cruel to or neglectful of any child, shall be deemed to be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.” As it relates to the criminal charge of child abuse, N.J.S.A. 9:6-1 sets forth that “abuse of a child shall consist in any of the following acts: (a) disposing of the custody of a child contrary to law; (b) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any vocation or employment injurious to its health or dangerous to its life or limb, or contrary to the laws of this State; (c) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any occupation, employment, or vocation dangerous to the morals of such child; (d) the habitual use by the parent or by a person having the custody and control of a child, in the hearing of such child, of profane, indecent, or obscene language; (e) the performing of any indecent, immoral, or unlawful act or deed, in the presence of a child, that may tend to debauch or endanger or degrade the morals of the child; (f) permitting or allowing any other person to perform any indecent, immoral, or unlawful act in the presence of the child that may tend to debauch or endanger the morals of such child; (g) using excessive physical restraint on the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself, others, or property; or (h) in an institution as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C. 9:6-8.21), willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.”
It is important to note that the above definition is applied only in the criminal context, as opposed to the child abuse and neglect laws set forth in N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21 that apply to DCP&P investigations and child abuse and neglect proceedings in family court. In other words: there is a difference between the laws that apply to criminal charges of child abuse and the laws that apply to DCP&P proceedings and investigations. In any event, the fact of the matter is that allegations of child abuse or neglect in New Jersey can have far-reaching consequences, including criminal investigations and criminal charges, as well as DYFS investigations and child custody litigation in family court.
The bottom line is that if you are accused of child abuse or neglect in any capacity, it is important to contact an experienced New Jersey DCP&P defense attorney at the Tormey Law Firm who is familiar with both criminal law and DYFS law. Our attorneys have helped clients across New Jersey who are dealing with DCP&P and with the criminal justice system, and we are ready to help you 24/7. Contact us today.