Monday, May 16th, 2016

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office held its second quarterly Clergy Community Outreach Program of 2016 at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany on Friday.

Prosecutor Knapp, Tia Manoccio and Patty Sly

Prosecutor Knapp, Tia Manochio and Patty Sly

Based on popular request, the topic of discussion was domestic violence and how clergy can assist with early intervention.  The audience was comprised of local clergy representing various religions, as well as numerous law enforcement officers from throughout Morris County.

“Not including domestic violence incidents that occurred in municipalities throughout the county, the Morris County Prosecutors Office alone handled 393 domestic violence cases in 2015, 426 in 2014 and 395 in 2013,” Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp told the group.

Prosecutor Knapp encouraged clergy to go back to their places of worship and educate parishioners that resources to aid victims of domestic violence do exist. He emphasized that clergy can be on the “front line” in the battle against domestic violence.

(l/r) Chief Spitzer and Wagner

(l/r) Chief Mark Spitzer and Chief Christopher Wagner

The Prosecutor also promoted the new Morris Family Justice Center, which is located in the Administration and Records Building at 10 Court Street in Morristown.

The Center serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, child abuse and human trafficking.  It is one of only two such center located in New Jersey and offers more efficient and effective services by bringing agencies together at one location to victims in crisis.

Patty Sly, Executive Director of Jersey Battered Women’s Services, told the assembled clergy about the “power and control wheel” of domestic violence that includes intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, minimizing, denying and blaming, using children, economic abuse, male privilege, and coercion and threats.  Aggressors, she said, use anger and violence as tools for power and control.

Tia Manocchio and

Tia Manochio and Matthew Troiano

Morris County Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Tia Manochio, who supervises the Prosecutor’s Domestic Violence Unit, said 90 percent to 95 percent of victims fail to cooperate with the Prosecutor’s Office after the initial event, which adversely effects the prosecution of offenders.

Also on the agenda were a panel of law enforcement executives who held an open discussion on the topic of domestic violence. Incouded were Manochio, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Troiano, Mount Olive Police Chief Mark Spitzer and Denville  Police Chief Christopher Wagner, who is the current President of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police

Chief Spitzer commented on how domestic violence laws have substantially improved over his 30-year law enforcement career.

The next quarterly Clergy Community Outreach Program is tentatively planned to cover the current heroin/opiate epidemic.

Any questions regarding this Media Release should be referred to Agent Paul Merkler at [email protected]