MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – In a 46-page complaint packed with allegations of harassment involving sex toys, official misconduct, nepotism, hazing, double-dipping and other egregious behavior, five Mountainside police officers and a female employee are suing the borough in state Superior Court.
The complaint, filed by officers Jeffrey Stinner, Christopher Feighner, Richard Latargia, Thomas Norton, James Urban and employee Amy Colineri, portrays a small police department run by a chief who ignores the bad behavior of his superior officers and a governing body that also does nothing to control it.
The behavior cited in the complaint includes childish, crude pranks with dildos, the rubbing of genitals on officers' food when they're not watching, the repeated pointing of a handgun at fellow officers, racist and sexist comments, favoritism in hiring and promotions, the holding of knives to officers' throats and more.
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The plaintiffs are claiming
they are forced to endure a hostile work environment and retaliation. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Charles Sciarra, seeks a jury trial and relief under the state Law Against Discrimination.
Although not currently named as defendants, the lawsuit describes numerous bad acts by Borough Administrator James Debbie (a former chief of the department), current Police Chief Allan Attanasio, Mountainside Police Detective Andrew Huber, Mountainside Police Lt. Thomas Murphy, Mountainside Mayor Paul Mirabelli and Mountainside Councilman Keith Turner.
TAPinto Mountainside reported on the lawsuit on Tuesday, here
. The borough retained William Maderer, Esq. a former Assistant United States Attorney specializing in such investigations, to conduct the investigation as of April 25. Both Officers Murphy and Huber were placed on Administrative Leave of Absence when the details of the lawsuit were made public.
According to a statement posted on the borough website, “In light of these new allegations and in the interests of avoiding the occasion for friction and discord in the Police Department the Governing Body has determined to place Officers Murphy and Huber on an Administrative Leave of Absence. Such action is not in any way designed to lend any credence to any of the allegations made in the Complaint. The Borough will continue the process of conducting a thorough investigation of all the allegations in the Complaint,” the statement read.
A copy of the lawsuit may be found here