Jackson Zoning Board Member Removed After Criminal Charges

Jackson resident and current zoning board member Anthony Marano was arrested on child pornography charges on Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office)

JACKSON – Council members unanimously voted to approve a resolution removing Anthony Marano, 29, as a member of the zoning board during its Oct. 10 meeting.

According to a press release posted Sept. 27 to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office website, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew D. Kunz announced Marano’s arrest on charges of 3rd degree Aggravated Assault, 3rd degree Possession of Child Pornography and 2nd degree Distribution of Child Pornography.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s High Tech Crime Unit (HTCU), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Jackson Township Police Department were involved with the investigation.

The release stated that the arrest was the result of proactive cyber monitoring by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit which indicated that someone within Ocean County had downloaded images of prepubescent children engaged in sexual acts.

Investigators started looking into Marano’s activities in December of 2016, but were unable to substantiate the alleged activity due to covert cyber measures taken by him. The investigation later uncovered additional information from the FBI Cyber Crime Task Force regarding Marano’s alleged criminal activity.

The investigation led to the execution of an approved search warrant by the partnering agencies at 32 Eucalyptus Court in Jackson. The release stated that after detectives announced their presence with a search warrant several times, they observed Marano move from the living room of the residence into the bedroom instead of responding to the door. They then forced entry and were met by the defendant exiting the bedroom with a handgun in his hand.

Marano, who worked for ambulance company MONOC, was ordered multiple times to drop the weapon before he finally complied. After he was secured, they found the semi-automatic firearm was loaded with a round in the chamber. He remains lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a first appearance hearing according to the release.

Councilman Barry Calogero said the resolution was prompted by the situation. “It was incumbent on this council to take action for the protection of the residents of the township.”

Marano’s unexpired term will be filled on the board by zoning board member Alexander Sauickie. His term will end on June 30, 2019. Sauickie’s existing seat will be filled by Larry Schuster.

The zoning board recently noted the departure of another member, Peter Kitay, 56, owner of County Line Construction. Kitay, who was appointed to the board on Jan. 4, resigned on October 4. His seat will be filled by Scott Najarian, whose term on the board will end on June 30, 2019.

While Kitay had maintained being an active member of the community, his appointment had its share of critics by residents who voiced concern that his company, which had appeared before the zoning board for variances before, might fall into situations of a conflict of interest. Council members said Kitay’s resignation cited time considerations as the reason for his resignation.

Photo by Jennifer Peacock

In other news, township officials recognized Breast Cancer Awareness month during the meeting noting that breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Township Clerk Ann Marie read a proclamation at the start of meeting on behalf of Mayor Mike Reina.

Councilman Robert Nixon, who wore a pink tie, the color of Breast Cancer awareness, said his mother died earlier in the year of cancer. “We’ve all been touched by this disease. Even the small things are important like picking up the phone and seeing how someone is. Don’t put it off to tomorrow because tomorrow may not come.”

Nixon said his mother had expressed the importance of personal visits during her time in hospice care.

Councilman Scott R. Martin noted the recent Kiwanis Cornhole Tournament that raised funds for Rebuilding Warriors an organization that provides service dogs for veterans.

An ordinance authorizing the dedication of a right-of-way to Ocean County for the purposes of road and drainage facility construction and maintenance along a portion of Route 527 on Whitesville Road was introduced. The ordinance was approved on first reading. The ordinance will receive a second reading on Oct. 24.