Holmdel, NJ – Kenilworth School District Superintendent Thomas Tramaglini has pleaded guilty of defecating on a high school track in April, but experts say he may have a strong case in his $1 million lawsuit against the police department.
On Oct. 24, Tramaglini pleaded guilty to defecating in public as part of a deal that allowed the charges of lewdness and littering to be dismissed, according to NJ.com.
The investigation into a pooping spree started as the Holmdel High School track team was encountering feces on the track each day, according to Patch.
Staff and coaches at Holmdel High School told the school’s resource officer that they “were finding human feces” in the athletic area “on a daily basis,” the Holmdel Township Police Department said in a Facebook post.
Staff members joined the school resource officer in monitoring the area, and were “able to identify a subject responsible for the acts,” the department said.
Tramaglini, 42, was arrested at 5:50 a.m. April 30, after he was observed defecating on the football field, The Washington Post reported.
He was charged with public urination or defecation, lewdness, and discarding and dumping of litter, a police spokesman said.
“Given the nature of those charges, he asked for and was granted a paid leave of absence,” the Kenilworth Board of Education said in a Facebook post.
“Leaves can only be without pay in the face of indictments or tenure charges, as a matter of state law,” the board added.
Tramaglini, who collected an annual salary of $147,504, had headed the Kenilworth School District since August of 2015, NJ.com reported.
After months of paid leave, he finally resigned with a $100,000 severance.
“In recognition of this fact, and in an effort to avoid legal fees and expensive litigation, and in the best interests of all concerned, including the faculty, staff and students of the Kenilworth School District, Dr. Tramaglini has tendered, and the board has accepted, his resignation effective September 30, 2018,” the school district said, according to Holmdel Patch.
Tramaglini’s attorney submitted tort paperwork to sue the police for damages over $1 million dollars, following his arrest, according to Holmdel Patch.
The attorney cited emotional distress and invasion of privacy of the man accused of repeatedly pooping in public.
The attorney told NJ.com that the mugshot was unnecessary because it was a low-level offense.
“It is our position that the photograph that has been widely disseminated was unlawfully taken and maliciously distributed,” the attorney told NJ.com.
There is no current case law which prevents law enforcement from taking mug shots of people who are in custody for criminal offenses, but only one of the charges against him, lewdness, is criminal.
The problem is, the arresting officer allegedly didn’t cite Tramaglini for lewdness at the time he was photographed. Tramaglini’s attorney said that the lewdness charge was added later.
“The Holmdel police department either did it to humiliate him or an inexperienced police officer did not know what he was doing,” the attorney told Holmdel Patch.
“The law clearly lays out when you can take someone’s fingerprints and mugshot, and it’s only for indictable, more serious crimes where you have to appear in court,” an anonymous officer told Holmdel Patch. If the arresting officer didn’t intend to cite him for lewdness at the time, the department may face a rough legal defense.
“This notion that Tom is ‘serial pooper’ is unfounded and frankly it’s disgusting and unfair,” Tramaglini’s attorney said told NJ.com. “It’s really unfair to malign a guy who has had a great career. You talk to any of Tom’s colleagues about his career and what he’s done for kids they’ll tell you that.”
“My kids are taking a beating,” Tramaglini told NJ.com. “They’re being ostracized and teased. That’s, by far, the worst part. And you know how people like to Google their names? When they Google theirs, this will always come up.”
“I’ve been portrayed as a horrible, deranged person,” he said. “There is nothing you can say or do to change the people’s minds.”