A man and woman from Mullica Township were arrested this week for endangering the welfare of a child for whom they had a legal duty to provide care, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton announced.
A six-month investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit and the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) resulted today in a direct presentment of the case to an Atlantic County Grand Jury.
The Grand Jury indicted:
William Hilbert, a 36-year-old male, and Brenda VanLeer, a 31-year-old female, who reside together on the 5200 block of the White Horse Pike in Mullica Township for:
1. Endangering the Welfare of a Child by Abuse or Neglect—a crime of the 2nd degree, and
2. Aggravated Assault of the 4-year-old female child—a 3rd degree crime.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and officers of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Team arrested Hilbert and VanLeer Tuesday on a warrant upon indictment at their home. The arrests were made without incident.
Both were transported to the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, processed for the arrest, and lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility on $50,000.00 cash or bond bail set by Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury.
The victim was removed from the home early in the investigation, in March 2016, and placed with a foster family for her protection.
The State alleges that Hilbert and VanLeer caused injuries to the victim by striking her with objects on the body and head.
A conviction for a 2nd degree crime carries a potential penalty of 5-10 years of incarceration in New Jersey State Prison.
The potential penalty of a 3rd degree conviction is 3-5 years of imprisonment.
Anyone with information regarding the exploitation of children in Atlantic County is asked to contact the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at: (609) 909-7800.