Little Egg Harbor Chief Buzby Posts Sex Offender Warning to Residents
Little Egg Harbor Police Chief Richard Buzby released an unprecedented statement Jan. 25 warning the community about a local sex offender who was confined to house arrest rather than to jail that day.
“As your chief and a fellow parent, I could not sleep tonight if I did not say something to families about being particularly careful regarding their children’s whereabouts and welfare at this time. I beg you to do so, particularly now. Rest assured, we are working with the county prosecutor’s office non-stop to rectify this matter as fast as we humanly can,” Buzby wrote in his statement.
A 20-year-old Little Egg Harbor man was arrested on Jan. 19, charged with second degree attempted sexual assault and third degree endangering the welfare of a child. He had been housed in the Ocean County Jail since his arrest but was released under the new bail reform guidelines.
“For some time a sex offender who has targeted children in the past has lived in this community in close proximity to many family residences, school bus stops and other points of interest to children,” said Buzby in his statement posted on the township police Facebook page. “Despite the best efforts of the county prosecutor’s office and this Agency to the contrary, the current state of Megan’s Law is such that this particular community cannot be notified until the sex offender rating process is completed and a tier is established that will allow such a notification. A determination that would have allowed such notification was reached by the prosecutor’s office but that matter is under appeal and, once again, the notification must be delayed.
“There is, at present, an allegation that this subject has re-offended with a local child. An arrest has been made and all appropriate charges have been filed but the new bail reform protocol has determined that he does not present a threat and he was released by a superior court judge this afternoon. Because of our perceived threat to other children and our continued inability to notify parents this matter has been taken under immediate appeal by the prosecutor. Once again, despite the prosecutor’s best efforts, trial court and appellate court stays have been denied and this person will apparently remain in our community until the matter progresses further.”
According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the accused was arrested on Jan. 19 after an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit Detective Stephanie Bayha and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Detective Joel Mahr. The partnering agencies’ investigation, which began in December 2016, alleges the 20-year-old offered the victim a gaming system in return for sexual favors.
Nicole’s Order (which provides for no contact with victim) was implemented by Judge Patricia B. Roe J.S.C., and the man was housed in the Ocean County Jail. As of Jan. 1, under the new bail reform law, there is no monetary bail and the defendant was detained at Ocean County Jail but was released Jan. 25 to house arrest with a monitoring ankle bracelet. The accused is a Megan’s Law registrant based upon a juvenile delinquency complaint that was signed in 2009. —P.J.