One day after charges were filed against a Long Branch Police Officer accused of groping a 21-year old woman at a private police promotions party at Jack's Goal Line Stand, Chief Jason Roebuck has issued a release in response to the ongoing investigation.

Officer Patrick D. Joyce, Jr., 35, of West Long Branch and a 12-year veteran of the Long Branch Police Department, is facing charges of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact and Harassment, a petty disorderly persons offense after he was accused of allegedly inappropriately touching the woman without her consent for his own sexual arousal or gratification, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office.

As a result of these charges, Joyce has been suspended by the Long Branch Police Department.

Joyce is scheduled to make his first appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court on March 15, 2019.

If convicted of Criminal Sexual Contact, Joyce faces up to 18 months in state prison.

If convicted of Harassment, Joyce faces up to 30 days in the county jail.

On Saturday, Long Branch Police Chief Jason Roebuck issued a statement in response to the allegations against one of his officers:

"As with any investigation, especially one involving a law enforcement officer, I cannot legally release certain information to the press, no matter how much I may want to, until that investigation has been completed. This was the situation with the incident involving Officer Patrick Joyce, Jr.

Now that the investigation is complete, and charges filed, I can issue the following statement, with much outrage and embarrassment. Officer Patrick Joyce Jr was charged with Criminal Sexual Contact (4th degree) and Harassment (Disorderly Persons offense) by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, February 8th, 2019. While the matter was under investigation, he was immediately suspended without pay, which was supported by the command staff of the department and the City’s leadership. He is now facing termination of his employment.

While it is true that his actions that led to these charges were conducted when he was “off duty”, it matters little to us. He has defied the public trust and harmed the reputation of our department. Police Officers are supposed to protect the public, not prey upon them. Many will point to his past transgressions, as alluded to in several news articles. This is one of the many reasons such prompt and decisive action was taken immediately following this incident. There is a process to be followed in all discipline cases, as there is now.

I apologize to the residents of the City of Long Branch that the Long Branch Police Department serves faithfully every day and hope you will not judge us on the actions of one officer. There are 90 plus other officers here that put their lives on the line for the City of Long Branch, as one did just days ago, saving the life of a woman being violently assaulted. These officers serve with pride and distinction, and deserve your support, now more than ever. I sincerely hope this explanation clearly expresses our commitment to excellence and professionalism.

Thank you.

Chief Jason Roebuck

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