News Transcript News Briefs, June 2


A new special law enforcement officer has been hired to serve in Freehold Township for 2021. During a recent meeting, Township Committee members appointed Mark Wodell as a Class II SLEO in the Freehold Township Police Department. The appointment is limited to 2021.

According to a resolution, the duties of a Class II officer are limited and confined to the Freehold Township school system; issuing summonses in fire zones, handicap parking areas and “no parking” zones; serving as the Freehold Township municipal courtroom officer; traffic control in special details; communications operator; and special duties assigned by the police chief.

A Class II officer is not permitted to carry a handgun when off-duty, according to the resolution. Under a municipal statute, Freehold Township may have a maximum of four Class II officers. Township Committee members increased the maximum number from two to four in 2020.


A Freehold Borough man pleaded guilty on May 27 to the 2020 sexual assault of
a 12-year-old girl, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

Elias Juarez-Hernandez, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of first degree aggravated sexual assault before state Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux, according to a press release.

During the plea, Juarez-Hernandez admitted to having sexual intercourse at his home in
Freehold Borough with the child on Aug. 10, 2020.

An investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Freehold Borough Police Department revealed Juarez-Hernandez approached the 12-year-old girl, who had run away from her residence in Marlboro, outside a business in Freehold Borough and offered her a ride. The initial contact was made in the early morning hours.

Juarez-Hernandez told the girl his vehicle was at his residence in Freehold Borough so they walked to that location. When they arrived at his home, Juarez-Hernandez pushed the girl into the basement and sexually assaulted her multiple times throughout the night, according to the prosecutor.

Juarez-Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 20. Under the terms of a plea agreement reached after consultation with the girl’s family, Juarez-Hernandez faces up to 15 years in state prison without the possibility of parole, according to the press release.