Monmouth County man sentenced to 90 days for stalking Union County teen

A Monmouth County man has been sentenced to 90 days in prison and 18 months of probation for stalking a Union County teenager during the course of approximately three and a half years, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced.

Joseph Gellene, 36, of West Long Branch was sentenced Friday morning by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.

In the autumn of 2007, Gellene was hired as a tennis coach for the then 14-year-old male victim, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jill O’Malley, who prosecuted the case. This initial contact was followed by inappropriate communications that included hundreds of text messages and the presentation of gifts such as a free massage, O’Malley said.

Even after being fired as the victim’s tennis instructor and advised to cease communication with him, Gellene continued to send text messages and place phone calls to the teenager, eventually going as far as attending the same church as him and his family, O’Malley said. The criminal conduct lasted into 2011.

The case went to trial, and last month a Union County jury needed less than an hour of deliberation to find Gellene guilty of a single county of fourth-degree stalking.