NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Franklin Township man must serve 23 years in prison and register as a sex offender after assaulting a Highland Park woman in February, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

On Feb.19, Brandon Cox, 23, of the Somerset section, approached a mother who was walking her child outside the Harper Avenue apartments in Highland Park, Carey said.

Cox displayed a handgun, forced the mother into the basement of the apartment building, sexually assaulted her and repeatedly punched her in the face, Carey said.

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Cox pled guilty to kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault in June and admitted to kidnapping the victim's child and sexually assaulting and beating the mother, according to Carey.

Authorities became aware of the incident when a Harper Avenue resident called police after the victim ran to a neighbor’s home following the attack.

Cox was arrested and charged following an investigation by Highland Park Detective Sean McGraw and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Allie Bitterman. 

Under the No Early Release Act, Cox will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be released on parole, after which he’ll be under lifetime supervision.

He will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan's Law, according to the prosecutor.