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Release of accused Ocean County sex offender should be reconsidered, appellate court rules

A trial court’s decision to release an alleged Ocean County sex offender should be quickly reconsidered, an appellate panel ruled Tuesday.
Christopher Wilson, 20 of Little Egg Harbor Township, is accused or using the promise of a gaming console to get sexual favors from a 12-year-old girl.
The court did not consider Wilson’s troubling juvenile record that included being categorized as the most dangerous level of Megan’s Law offender and
The appeal by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office questions the way the court used the new bail reform risk assessment to determine whether Wilson should be detained pending trial.
The court failed to consider Wilson’s troubling juvenile record that included being a top-tier Megan’s Law offender and two probation violations that put him in juvenile detention for three years.
“Such consideration of a defendant’s juvenile record is authorized by the (bail reform),” the judges ruled.
They also found that there should have been “considerable weigh to the tier classification of a defendant who has previously committed a sexual offense subject to Megan’s Law.”
He also lives close to the victim, the judges noted.
The new bail reform looks at two risk factors that are rated from 1 to 5: failure to appear and likelihood of new criminal activity. Wilson was given the lowest score on failure to appear and a 2 on new criminal activity. But that is mainly because his juvenile history was not taken into account. And, despite the low numbers, Pretrial Services still said release was not recommended.
The panel also found gaps in what they were given of Wilson’s history, which was concerning.
They sent it back to the trial court for “expeditious reconsideration of its ruling.”
No new court date has been set at this time.

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