Police & Fire

Notice of Intent to Sue Filed Against Sparta Township for Police Posting Details of Charges Filed Regarding Underaged Drinking Party


SPARTA, NJ – A notice of civil tort claim has been filed against the Sparta Township on behalf of Karen Gitelman.  Through her attorney Joseph S. Murphy, Gitelman charges the Sparta police with Malicious Prosecution, claiming the Sparta police department’s posting of details about an underage drinking party at her West Gate home caused her distress and financial loss.

The notice filed on July 21 states they are intending to sue Sparta Township for $500,000.  The claim alleges the Sparta Police Department conducted “a trial before the public” by posting a press release about the incident on facebook

Karen and Daniel Gitleman were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, obstructing the administration of law and hosting an underage drinking party.  The charges stemmed from incidents that happened on April 23, 2016. 

Sign Up for E-News

Residents of the neighborhood around Valley View Trail called police to report mailboxes and light posts being vandalized.  One neighbor also called for medical assistance when one of the juveniles ran into a mailbox and injured himself, police reported.

According to police, while waiting for help to arrive the neighbor said Karen and Daniel Gitelman came and took the injured boy back to their home on Westgate Drive over the protests of the neighbor. 

When Sparta police officers arrived with an ambulance, the neighbor told them what happened.  When the police went to the Gitelmans’ home, they were told by Daniel Gitelman that the injured boy had been picked up by his mother.  Before the first responders left the scene, Daniel Gitleman came back and told the officers that the boy was on their back porch, police reported.

Police reported the victim was found “unconscious lying face down with blood coming out of his nose with scrapes on his forehead.”  The victim was identified as a 15-year-old Sparta High School sophomore, was taken to the hospital where he was treated for alcohol poisoning.

The Gitelmans were charged and subsequently entered into Pre-Trial Intervention, allowing charges to be suspended for a year.  Judge William J. McGovern III set the requirement of their PTI; 50 hours of community service, $200 in fines and fees and periodic check-ins with the Sussex county probation department.  If they fulfill the requirements, the charges will be resolved. 

According to Assistant Prosecutor Greg Muller, accepting admission into PTI does not mean there a presumption of guilt or innocence.  It does, however, “present a large hurdle” to overcome in a civil case.

This concept was considered in an appellate decision by Judges Graves, Weissbard and Payne, argued on January 23, 2007 in Morris County.  In the matter of Dr Gary Safier v Walder, Sondak & Brogan, P.C., et al.  the plaintiff, Safier, sued his attorney, claiming “legal malpractice on the part of Walder”, his attorney.  Safier alleged malpractice stemmed from Walder having advised him to enter PTI without fully apprising him that he would then be disqualified being able to pursue a civil case. 

The findings in the case stated in part, “Nonetheless … we regard as incredible Dr. Safier’s claim that [his attorney] should have advised against entry into PTI and should have risked a criminal trial…, merely to preserve civil causes of action of questionable merit.” 

PTI is a state program that offers certain defendants the opportunity to have charges suspended and ultimately dismissed, provided they comply with conditions specified by the court.  The New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman recently issued a memo of Uniform Guidelines on the Pretrial Intervention Program to include the most recent legislation on the topic.

The March 1, 2016 document states, “PTI provides defendants with an alternative to traditional prosecution.  The PTI program is designed for first-time offenders who will benefit from early rehabilitative services to deter future criminal conduct.”

It further states “any defendant charged with an indictable offense can apply to PTI” but there are criteria for eligibility and ineligibility.  None of the new restrictions in the legislation is relevant to the Gitelman case as they deal with matters of domestic violence, crimes of first or second degree or prior convictions.

Muller said New Jersey police departments are required to report elements of an arrest within 48 hours, including names, towns, charges and court date. 

"As a matter of township policy, we do not comment on possible pending litigation," said Sparta Township Lt John-Paul Beebe.  



TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Road Rage and Racing on Route 15 End in Arrest

July 17, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Plainfield was stopped for racing on Route 15, going 93 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.  Sparta Police Officer Erick Finley was able to stop one of  two cars racing on July 6 around 11:45 p.m. police said.

Driving a four door Chevy, Santos Vides-Guardado, 21, told Finley that he and the other driver had gotten into an argument that led to the two men racing each ...

Sparta Police: Two Injured in Car Versus Motorcycle Accident

SPARTA, NJ — An accident on Route 15 with a motorcycle and a car sent two people to the hospital. On July 12 Sparta police responded to the crash at the intersection of Route 15 and Wilson Drive around 6:37 p.m. police report.

According to police, while turning left on to Wilson Drive from Route 15 north, Carmen Emery of Highland Lakes cut in front of Richard Keim on a Harley-Davidson ...

Sparta Fire Trucks Have Adequate Access through New LMCC Gates

SPARTA, NJ — Emergency equipment can access the newly refurbished Sparta gate on West Shore Trail in the Lake Mohawk reservation, according to the Lake Mohawk Country Club Manager John Stanley. At the June 11 Sparta Township meeting, councilman Jerry Murphy raised a concern about the new gate not being sufficiently wide to allow a fire truck to pass through. 

In response to an ...

No Dog Beach on Lake Hopatcong?

July 9, 2018

Hello Editor, 
 I have spent considerable time trying to find somewhere on Lake Hopatcong to bring my dog for a swim.
What I have found is ridiculous - this lake has approximately 28 miles of shoreline and I found NO PLACE am allowed to bring him.  Am hoping you can make the public aware and maybe someone will know more than me and inform where dogs are allowed?
Many thanks for ...

Chemist Congratulates Sparta High School Chem Olympians

Congratulation to the ladies from Sparta High School who finished first and second in the Chemistry Olympics.

I am very pleased to see women succeeding in chemistry.

Martin Feil,

Newton, NJ
Retired Chemist and Chemistry Teacher

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

CASA of Morris and Sussex Counties, Morristown

CASA Information Session

Education Giving Back Law & Justice


Wed, July 18, 10:00 AM

Paterson Board of Education , Paterson

Teacher Job Fair



Sat, July 21, 7:45 AM

Saint Kateri Parish, Sparta

Sussex County Blood Drive

Health & Wellness


Sat, July 21, 8:00 AM

Newton Moose Lodge, Fredon

Newton Moose Lodge Sunday Breakfasts

Food & Drink


Sat, July 21, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sun, July 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Sussex County Views: The Art of Toni Chaplin

Arts & Entertainment


Mon, July 23, 10:00 AM

Sparta Public Library, Sparta

Watercolor Workshop

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, July 27, 10:00 AM

Sparta Public Library, Sparta

Watercolor Workshop

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, July 28, 8:00 AM

Newton Moose Lodge, Fredon

Newton Moose Lodge Sunday Breakfasts

Food & Drink


Sat, July 28, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton High School FFA Students Dominate at State Convention

July 11, 2018

LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Newton FFA Chapter won several of their events at the 89th New Jersey State FFA Convention in May at Monmouth University. The students brought home several awards competing against the best in the state.

Freshman Kirk Avondoglio took first place in the state FFA Creed Public Speaking competition.  The event requires participants to recite the creed in front of a ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 13, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

4 Top Tips for Kitchen Remodels

Getting ready to remodel your New Jersey home's kitchen? Team Nest Builder shares these top 4 tips for maintaining your sanity (and budget)!

Expect the Unexpected

Even the best-laid plans go awry during a kitchen remodel--be prepared!  Add a 10% cushion to your finanical plan for problems that may arise. In case something happens, this could save your time and budget.

Make A ...

Get Out and Garden During FREE Open Gates Weekend

Team Nest Builder wants you to discover the beauty and diversity of Morris County’s Community Gardens through the people, plants, and planting techniques that make gardens thrive. It's Morris County Community Garden FREE Open Gates Weekend!

Tour the many gardens, discover how to start one in your town, and learn more about growing your own food. Enjoy food tastings and demonstrations ...

Homes More Affordable Today than 1985-2000

Concerned that your family will no longer be able to afford the most precious piece of the American Dream – your own home? Let Team Nest Builder assuage your fears...

It’s not just a home’s price that determines its affordability--it’s also the monthly cost determined by the price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it.

Today, mortgage interest ...

Don't Miss Out on this DOUBLE Sparta 4BR OPEN HOUSE Weekend

Team Nest Builder offers not one, but TWO enchanting homes this weekend---185 Milton Road on Saturday, and 28 Waters Edge on Sunday (1-3pm both days.)  Seeking the perfect Sparta home? Make plans today! Want to learn more? Read on!

185 Milton Road: A Stately Sparta 4BR 2.5 Bath on 6+ Beautiful Acres

You’ll fall in love with this gorgeous 4BR, 2.5 Bathroom ...

Be a Triathlon Volunteer!

Summertime is here and upon us Sparta residents, bringing a variety of exciting events to our area. Well, Pass It Along is BACK with the 9th Annual Triathlon at Lake Mohawk Country Club, located in Sparta, on Saturday, July 28, 2018!

This athletic event draws in several hundred people, both participants and spectators, to Lake Mohawk. Volunteers are needed to assist with the event in ...

It's Time to Swim, Bike and Run with Pass It Along!




“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race it’s up to you.”  – Dave Scott (Triathlete)

Join us on Saturday, July 28 at 7:00 am at the Lake Mohawk Country Club for the 9th annual Pass It Along Triathlon! ...

The Sussex County Freeholders July 11 meeting video

NEWTON, NJ - The Sussex County Freeholders July 11 meeting video


Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Encourages Family Fun with Online Fishing Tournament

July 16, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is asking families to cast their lines and reel in some quality time this summer as part of the fourth annual Don’t Get Hooked on Drugs Online NJ Family Fishing Tournament.

The competition will be held from July 27 to August 5 as a way to encourage families to enjoy a day of fishing, while giving ...