Robert Laurino began his career in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office as a general trial attorney in 1980. In 1985, he was appointed director of the adult sex crimes unit, and assumed the additional responsibilities of directing the child abuse unit in 1998. In 1999, he was appointed Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor, and in 2004, Chief Assistant Prosecutor.
As Chief Assistant Prosecutor, he was responsible for the office’s Special Victims Division, overseeing a staff of over 70 people in the Special Victims, Megan’s Law, Juvenile, Cold Case, Professional Standards, and Public Corruption Units. He has completed over 100 jury trials, and handled thousands of cases involving sexual violence. Laurino was the subject of the book Our Guys by Bernard Lefkowitz, and the 1999 ABC TV television movie “Our Guys: Outrage in Glen Ridge,” which was based upon his successful trial of several high school athletes in Glen Ridge who were convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman with an intellectual disability.
In January 2010, Robert Laurino was appointed as the interim Acting Prosecutor for Essex County, following the departure of Prosecutor Paula T. Dow to serve as New Jersey Attorney General. Laurino ably led the Office until 2011, when Governor Chris Christie and then Attorney General Dow appointed Carolyn A. Murray as Acting Essex County Prosecutor. Laurino agreed to continue sharing his extensive abilities and experience with the public by assuming the Acting First Assistant Prosecutor position at that time. In June, 2017, Acting Prosecutor Murray accepted her appointment as a State Superior Court Judge in Essex County, and Robert Laurino once again stepped in to serve Essex County as its Acting Prosecutor.
Robert Laurino has been an advocate for victims of sexual violence for over 25 years. He helped to establish Wynona’s House, the state’s largest child advocacy center in Newark, and to create Essex County’s sexual assault response team. He was a member of the New Jersey Sexual Assault Protocol Council, which developed the state’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Sexual Assault Response Team (SANE/SART) protocol, and was one of only eight prosecutors chosen nationally to be part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s focus group for the development of a national SANE protocol. He served in a similar capacity in helping to develop a national pediatric SANE protocol.
A cum laude graduate of Villanova University, Laurino received a master’s degree from Rutgers University. He graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was an editor of the law review.
Since 1998, Robert Laurino has been a board member of The Arc of Essex County, which provides services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and he is a past president of the organization.
“I pledge to do all I can to ensure that the talented staff and resources of this office are used to the best advantage to fulfill our mission of fighting crime and protecting the people of Essex County and the State of New Jersey”, Laurino said. “I am extremely honored that the Attorney General has asked me to be the Acting Prosecutor, my second term in this role. Together with Chief Spruill, we look forward to continuing our mission to seek justice, to serve justice, and to do justice.”