NEWARK, N.J. (CBS/AP) — A former New Jersey school superintendent who pleaded guilty to defecating on another high school’s track has sued the local police department for releasing his mug shot to news outlets. Thomas Tramaglini said in a federal lawsuit filed late Tuesday that Holmdel police violated his constitutional rights by taking the picture and then releasing it after he was issued summonses last year.
The suit said Tramaglini’s due process rights were violated and alleged New Jersey law prohibits the taking of mug shots for low-level offenses. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Tramaglini resigned as superintendent of the Kenilworth schools, and his attorney said he is now working outside the education field.
“Nearly a year after his ordeal began, today Dr. Tramaglini fights back against the police misconduct that has altered his life forever,” attorney Matthew Adams said Wednesday. “He is severely underemployed and is fighting for any semblance of normalcy he can create for himself and his family.”
Reached Wednesday morning, an attorney representing the police department didn’t immediately comment on the lawsuit.
The Tramaglini case received national exposure after details came to light. The suit alleged the negative publicity damaged his reputation and was the result of the police department’s “unauthorized, intentional, reckless, malicious, and unlawful conduct.”
Tramaglini was issued summonses in May after police said he repeatedly defecated on the Holmdel High School track. He eventually pleaded guilty to relieving himself in public on one occasion and paid a $500 fine.
“Based on events unrelated to his service for Kenilworth, it has become clear to both Dr. Tramaglini and the Kenilworth Board of Education that his continued service as Superintendent of Schools has become too much of a distraction to the main mission of the district,” Kenilworth school officials wrote in a statement last year.
Adams argued that state law prevents police from taking and releasing mug shots of people charged with low-level offenses, liked the one Tramaglini pleaded guilty to. In a letter he sent to the state attorney general’s office in February seeking a probe, Adams wrote that a review of township arrest reports involving similar municipal ordinances violations since 2007 revealed no instances in which mug shots were released.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)