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Facing 15 Years Behind Bars

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

Elias Juarez Hernandez, 45, of Freehold Borough, pleaded guilty to one count of first degree aggravated sexual assault before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux.

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During the plea, Juarez-Hernandez admitted to having sexual intercourse at his home in Freehold Borough with the child on Aug. 10, 2020. A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Freehold Borough Police Department revealed Juarez-Hernandez approached the 12-year-old girl, who had run away from her residence in Marlboro, outside the 7-Eleven store in Freehold Borough in the early morning hours of August 10 and offered her a ride. Juarez-Hernandez told the girl his vehicle was at his residence within Freehold Borough so they walked back there. When they arrived at the defendant’s home, Juarez-Hernandez pushed the juvenile into the basement and sexually assaulted her multiple times throughout the night.

Juarez-Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 20, 2021. Under the terms of a plea agreement reached after consultation with the victim’s family, Juarez-Hernandez faces up to 15 years in a New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole, pursuant to the Jessica Lunsford Act. Additionally, Juarez-Hernandez will be subject to the requirements of Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life upon release from prison.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Zanzuccki.

Juarez-Hernandez is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq., of Neptune.

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