A nearly week-long operation involving local, county, state, and federal authorities, working together, has resulted in the arrests of 14 fugitives who failed to comply with their reporting requirements as registered sex offenders under Megan’s Law, according to a joint announcement made Wednesday by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo, Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli, Elizabeth Police Chief John Brennan, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves, and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan.
Participating in Operation Roll Call were members of the Elizabeth Police Department, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Parole Board, New Jersey State Police, and U.S. Marshals Service.
The Operation began with approximately two months of preparatory investigative work and was initiated last Tuesday, continuing through Friday, with the 14 apprehended defendants appearing in Superior Court at various times throughout the week and detention hearings scheduled to continue into this week. Assistant Prosecutors handling the cases have moved to have the defendants detained, pending the adjudication of the new charges.
The defendants range in age from 24 to 56, and were located and apprehended as far away as North Carolina. All were charged with failure to register a new address, re-register with law enforcement, or notify law enforcement of an address change, all third-degree crimes commonly punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison.
The defendants included:
- Fernando Casamor, 56, of Elizabeth
- Romel Clark, 25, of Elizabeth
- Orlando DeJesus, 43, of Elizabeth
- Felix T. Garcia, 46, of Elizabeth
- Christopher Irlanda, 28, of Elizabeth
- Rasheed Johnson, 40, of Elizabeth
- Antwaun M. Marshall, 35, of Elizabeth
- Vernon L. Miller, 24, of Elizabeth
- Jeffrey L. Nash, 36, of Elizabeth
- Rondell L. Palmer, 40, of Elizabeth
- Alexander Rosa, 24, of Elizabeth
- Robert Skipworth, 43, of Elizabeth
- Lamont J. Wallace, 46, of Matawan
- Charles Williams, 52, of Elizabeth
Collectively, the apprehended individuals have been arrested 127 times and convicted on 56 indictable crimes, including sexual assault, kidnapping, criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, promoting prostitution, assaulting a police officer, and a variety of drug and weapons offenses.
Investigators also continue to pursue multiple additional fugitives who have been charged in absentia with failure to report.
“This collaborative law enforcement operation was conducted with one goal in mind: to protect children and other community residents from sex offenders who allegedly threatened to remove themselves from our radar by violating Megan’s Law,” said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “By mandating that police be notified – and residents as well for more dangerous offenders – Megan’s Law was designed to protect the public, particularly children, from the threat posed when convicted sex offenders move into a community. We will continue to maintain vigilance on behalf of our children and families in New Jersey.”
“This investigation was a prime example of the outstanding results that can be achieved when law enforcement agencies work together towards a common goal,” acting Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “By identifying, locating, and apprehending these defendants, there is no question that the streets of Union County are safer today than they were a week ago.”
“Operation Roll Call sends a clear message to convicted sex offenders required to register in New Jersey that no matter how far off the grid they fall or how far away they travel, we will find them and bring them back to justice,” Colonel Callahan said. “I commend the outstanding collaborative work of our troopers and partners, whose efforts have without doubt made our communities safer.”
New Jersey’s Megan’s Law went into effect on October 31, 1994, requiring that convicted sex offenders who were found to be repetitive and compulsive by experts and the courts, regardless of their date of conviction, register with law enforcement regularly. All such sex offenders in the state are required to report every change of address at least 10 days prior to the move, and they then must verify their addresses either every 90 days or annually, depending on the specific nature of the crimes for which they were convicted.
All sex offenders subject to Megan’s Law must continue to register for the remainder of their lives, and can only apply to be removed from the statewide registry if they committed only one sex offense, have not committed another criminal offense for 15 years, and prove that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.