Parents Charged With Child Endangerment for Hosting Party During Pandemic

March 31, 2020 Updated: March 31, 2020

Parents in New Jersey were hit with child endangerment charges after officials said they held an event with dozens of people, violating a state order against any gatherings amid the CCP virus pandemic.

Police officers were called on Sunday to a house in Lakewood and found approximately 40 to 50 people, including children, on the front lawn and in the street in front of the residence, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Officers ordered the crowd to disperse and located the owners of the residence, 37-year-old Eliezer Silber and 34-year-old Miriam Silber.

Eliezer Silber was charged with violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order banning gatherings as well as endangering the welfare of his five children. He and his wife were charged with one count of endangering the welfare for each of their five children.

“My office will prosecute any individual who defies or breaks the law, State of Emergency or otherwise. Everyone must respect and follow the law,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement. “The men and women of the Lakewood Police Department have done an exceptional job in the face of a public health crisis.”

The Silber couple will be required to appear in court on a date in the future that hasn’t been set yet.

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A newly installed sign encouraging social distancing to stop the spread of the CCP virus at a park in Weehawken, New Jersey, on March 28, 2020. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Murphy on Saturday issued a message reminding people to follow his order.

“Can’t believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are. NO CORONA PARTIES. They’re illegal, dangerous, and stupid,” the Democratic governor said in a social media post.

“We will crash your party. You will pay a big fine. And we will name and shame you until EVERYONE gets this message into their heads.”

The state’s top lawmaker, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, released a list last week with names of people who were charged with crimes related to the order.

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A delivery worker goes about his day during CCP virus outbreak in Hoboken, New Jersey, on March 23, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

They included Lea Piazza, 28, who allegedly falsely claimed to be infected with the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, during a driving-while-intoxicated stop; Nicola Ayvaz, 23, who allegedly called emergency dispatchers and claimed to have the virus to try to get Essex County College to close; and Shaul Kuperwasser, 43, who allegedly held a wedding in violation of the order against large gatherings.

Murphy announced the stay at home order on March 24. The order prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, and weddings, unless otherwise authorized in the order.

People were ordered to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, and romantic partners.

Stores labeled nonessential were closed, including golf courses, shopping malls, and gyms.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber