A veteran investigator who has served nearly a decade in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit today was the proud recipient of an Outstanding Law Enforcement Service Award from the New Jersey Sex Crimes Officers Association ahead of its 20th annual Sex Crimes Information Sharing Conference in Galloway Township, Atlantic County, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Wednesday.
Lt. Patricia “Trish” Gusmano accepted the award from Prosecutor’s Office acting Chief of Detectives Vincent G. Gagliardi and Special Victims Unit Supervisor/Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, in recognition of her years of excellence, dedication, and tireless efforts in investigations into sex crimes and human trafficking.
“I have had the opportunity to observe Lt. Gusmano’s work in many cases, and she is one of the most persistent and hardest-working investigators we have,” Lawlor said. “Many members of the Special Victims Unit have indicated that it was a pleasure to work alongside her, and they often seek her out for her vast knowledge and input on investigations. Her experience and talents are invaluable to newer assistant prosecutors and detectives.”
“Lt. Gusmano, since the start of her career with our Office, has been one of the most dedicated investigators in the State of New Jersey,” Chief Gagliardi added. “I am proud to call her a colleague, and today she received an honor that was truly deserved.”
As a sergeant in the Special Victims Unit, which annually handles approximately 500 to 600 referrals on incidents of alleged sexual and physical abuse of children, Gusmano was routinely assigned to handle an expansive and high-profile caseload.
One of her most notable recent investigations, launched in April 2016 and featured prominently in Prosecutor Isenhour’s written nomination for the Award, resulted in multiple first- and second-degree human trafficking charges filed against three defendants accused of using online ads to promote paid sex with underage victims in locations across Union and neighboring Essex counties. The investigation entailed the review of more than a thousand registration records from local motels, the filing of numerous subpoenas and preservation requests served for multiple social media sites, careful review of dozens of advertisements for correlation to known phone numbers and email addresses, and conducting interviews in an attempt to identify more victims. Lt. Gusmano spearheaded the investigation while still handling myriad other tasks, such as supervising other cases, fulfilling her on-call responsibilities, testifying in grand jury, and preparing a trial.
Earlier this year, Gusmano was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.