MORRIS COUNTY — The Montville Republican Club’s Morris County Freeholder Candidate Debate was hosted at the Montville Senior Citizen’s Center on April 25.
During that event, Mr. Thomas Mastrangelo “purposely assaulted Eric Rebels causing pain and a stinging sensation, specifically by slapping his right chest to push him out of his way,” according to police records. In addition, “Mr. Mastrangelo did knowing speak to Mr. Eric Rebels in a loud aggressive voice, by becoming visible angry and in a barking aggressive tone asking him his name, and stated that he will find him and he will regret this, in violation of NJSA 2C:33-4B, a disorderly persons violation.”
Parsippany Focus has received a copy of a “Criminal Complaint” filed by Eric Rebels, Kinnelon against Freeholder Thomas Mastrangelo, Montville.
The complaint charges Mr. Mastrangelo with 2C:12-1A(3) and 2C:33-4B.
A June 13, 2016 court appearance is required at Montville Township Municipal Court.
According to the complaint, Mr. Rebels sat in the front row during this debate. After the debate, Thomas Mastrangelo walked toward him, and Mr. Rebels then said to him “Sir, do you know the Morris County Jail has been a mess since the takeover by the Freeholders”. He expected Mr. Mastrangelo to do, as a concerned, public servant was to listen to his concern, hand me a business card ask me to call him at a better time when they could discuss the matter.
He continues “What actually happened is he immediately stopped and turned toward me and barked at me in a loud aggressive voice ‘Who are you?’ I then responded calmly that it is not important who I am, but it is important that you understand that Morris County Correction Officers are being over-worked and having to stand post on mandatory overtime shifts. Thomas Mastrangelo then again barked at me, even more aggressively, ‘What is your name?’ I again explained to him that who I am is not important. I then said ‘The Correction Officers in the Morris County Jail are understaffed and overworked and this practice could result in a Sheriff’s Officer or inmate being injured or killed.’ ”
The report states Thomas Mastrangelo was becoming visibly angry and aggressive, he again barked “I want your name and if you work at the jail I will find you and you’ll regret this.” I raised my cellphone adjacent to my shoulder and facing the camera towards him, to show him I was recording our exchange on video and Mr. Mastrangelo looked very distraught and became seedling angry. With me standing at least 2½ feet from Thomas Mastrangelo he stepped toward me with his right foot and raised his right hand with his palm toward me and slapped my right chest/pectoral which I felt pain and a stinging sensation and pushed me out of his way though there was plenty of room for him to step back, away or around me in any direction.
“Mr. Mastrangelo then looked towards the speaking podium where Michael Johnson, Montville Republican Club First Vice President, was standing and ordered Michael Johnson to have me removed from the event. Michael Johnson immediately pointed at me and said you must leave. A short woman with black hair approached me and said “You Must Leave.” I said to her, he (Thomas Mastrangelo) just assaulted me and I would like to talk to a Montville Police Officer. This woman again insisted that I leave so I called out into the room asking if there was a Montville Police Officer present. Lt. Andrew Caggiano quickly approached me, I explained the situation and he walked me over to the police station to file my compliant.”
“This type of behavior has no place in our society at this time, children in schools and play grounds are no longer allowed to be bullied, why should a Senior Morris County Elected Freeholder be able to do this to me,” asks Mr. Rebels.
Mr. Rebels stated “Mr. Mastrangelo’s conduct was unprofessional, discourteous and sheds a very bad light on Morris County as a whole. His behavior was conduct unbecoming a public official.”
Mr. Rebels continued “From what I understand this is not Mr. Mastrangelo’s first time being charged with a compliant of harassment while holding his current position as a Morris County Freeholder. He is short tempered and quick to anger and issuing threats. Therefore, I am going to ask the Morris County Freeholder Board to conduct a review of Mr. Mastrangelo’s past and current altercations while he has held this office and request that he undergo a psychological competency review. Pursuant to the finding of this investigation I would request that they hold Mr. Mastrangelo responsible for his misconduct and if his actions or the finding of his mental health review, he is found to be dangerous, I would request that they censure, reprimand or remove him from this public office.”
Mr. Mastrangelo did not respond to requests for comments.
Morris County Freeholder Candidate Louis Valori said “Not one person should be shocked that Tom Mastrangelo’s negative conduct surfaces once again. This is another example that Mr. Mastrangelo will say and do anything to hide his long history of bad behavior from voters and taxpayers — no matter how unethical and questionable his methods are. The bottom line is Tom Mastrangelo’s negative and volatile conduct and sleazy tactics are bad for Parsippany-Troy Hills Township and the entire county.”
Editors Note: A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendant is presumed innocent until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1A Simple Assault: Simple assault charges commonly stem from minor alterations, fights and domestic violence incidents. The situation can quickly turn into one with serious consequences.
A person will be charged with simple assault if he merely punches or slaps another individual resulting in bodily injury or if he attempts by physical menace to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. For example, a person could be found guilty of simple assault for merely waving an object that could be used as a weapon but never actually strike the person. You could be found guilty of simple assault even though no actual injury occurred.
A conviction for simple assault could result in fines of up to $1,000 and the potential for up to six months in the county jail.
Harassment is a criminal offense in New Jersey and it is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4, which provides that a person may not make communication in offensively coarse language or in any manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm. The harassment law requires the prosecution to prove that a person made the communication with intent to harass the victim. It’s not enough to simply annoy someone, a harassment charge requires that you are intentionally bothering the party at hand.
Because harassment is usually classified as a petty disorderly persons offense, it can be punishable by a sentence of up to thirty days in jail and a fine of up to $500.00.
After our article was published, Parsippany Focus received the following statement from Team Morris 2016:
“The fact that this ridiculous complaint was filed on the Friday before an election tells people everything they need to know about this baseless allegation. It was a political setup by a hired Valori agitator over a month ago, and it’s just as sleazy today. There were a number of Republican Club members who witnessed just how loud and out of line Mr. Rebels was. This is nothing more than a last ditch effort in Lou Valori’s desperate and sleazy campaign, to distract voters from his own long history of pocketing taxpayer money, padding pensions, and looking for a third taxpayer funded job. With a criminal investigation pending and subpoenas issued in his own town hall, perhaps Valori should be focused on that. The bottom line is these allegations are false, I will fight them to the end, and witnesses have already come forward offering to testify and give statements refuting these baseless allegations.” Editors note: The complaint was filed with the Montville Police Department on May 27, 2016.