Chiefs and Prosecutor Collaborate to ensure inappropriate officer conduct Is dealt with swiftly
Emphasis on Removing Offending Officers From Public Positions
FREEHOLD – A Neptune City police officer is facing charges and could lose his job after he was caught sending sexually suggestive texts to an 18-year old female he had just arrested. The charges come as four former law enforcement officers have lost their jobs in recent days due to their actions, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Damien Broschart, 29, of Howell is charged with fourth degree Cyber Harassment and third degree Hindering Apprehension of Oneself following a joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Neptune City Police Department. Broschart is a five-year veteran law enforcement officer who is currently suspended without pay from his post at the Neptune City Police Department.
“Once the Neptune City Police Department learned of the allegations against Broschart, we acted immediately by launching an internal affairs investigation and contacting the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. This type of behavior will not be tolerated, and has no place within the Neptune City Police Department, and the entire law enforcement community. Although Broschart's actions were completely unacceptable, this incident does not reflect on the great work done on a daily basis by the remaining officers of the Neptune City Police Department,” said Neptune City Police Chief Matthew J. Quagliato.
The investigation was prompted by the 18-year-old victim who came forward to reveal she was contacted by Broschart via text message only hours after he arrested her. Broschart, in his capacity as a Neptune City Police Officer, conducted a motor vehicle stop of the female victim in early October which led to her arrest on drug charges and several moving violations. After being processed and released, Broschart transported the victim back to her vehicle. Prior to arriving at her vehicle, Broschart deactivated his body worn camera and mobile video recorder and then asked the victim for her telephone number.
After releasing the victim from custody, Broschart, while still on duty, sent the victim a text message, followed by additional text messages which turned sexual in nature. Broschart sent the victim messages indicating he thought she was “cute” and he would like to “pay [her] back” for everything. Broschart went on to send sexually explicit messages and attempted to meet with the victim at her home after his shift ended, but she refused and abruptly ended the communications. She blocked Broschart’s phone number; however, Broschart then called her three times from the Neptune City Police Department. Broschart left a message requesting a call back from the victim. She did not answer or return any of his calls.
If convicted of Hindering, Broschart faces a sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of Cyber Harassment, he faces up to 18 months in state prison.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Gramiccioni, is committed to working collaboratively with our Monmouth County Police Departments to ensure swift action occurs when an officer’s conduct violates the public’s trust. Although there is a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders with no criminal records in New Jersey, an emphasis has been placed on seeking resolutions on such cases that ensures that police officers who engage in criminal conduct forfeit their public positions. New Jersey law requires forfeiture of public employment for any person convicted of a third degree crime or higher. When the offense also involves or touches upon the individual’s public office, they also forfeit any public office in the State of New Jersey.
“It is imperative that we do all that we can to ensure that the men and women who are sworn to protect and serve their communities do not have their reputations tarnished by officers who breach that trust. Although their numbers are few, our Chiefs are fully committed to ensuring that the public understands that none of our agencies tolerate that type of behavior and will continue to address instances of misconduct,” said Middletown Police Chief R. Craig Weber, President of the Monmouth County Chiefs of Police Association.
Yesterday morning, former Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former Asbury Park Special Law Enforcement Officer Class 2 Thomas Dowling, 27, both formerly of Asbury Park, were sentenced to a year of probation by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr. The sentence comes after the pair each pleaded guilty in August to one count of fourth-degree Criminal Mischief. The charges stemmed from a Sept. 3, 2019 incident where they vandalized two vehicles belonging to a citizen who had made an internal affairs complaint against them. The defendants came to court prepared to pay full restitution to the victim for the damage to his vehicles, but the victim refused to accept the $1,712.66 in restitution as ordered by Judge Falcetano. The Judge then ordered the restitution be paid through the county probation office. Both men permanently forfeited public office in the State of New Jersey, and were ordered to undergo substance abuse evaluations and to maintain employment during probation. They were also ordered to have no contact with the victim.
On October 16, 2020, Joseph Ammaturo, 38, a former 14-year veteran of the Deal Police Department, was sentenced to a year of probation by Monmouth County Superior Court Criminal Presiding Judge David Bauman after previously pleading guilty to Witness Tampering. Judge Bauman previously ordered Ammaturo forfeit his position as a police officer in the Borough of Deal and permanently forfeit all future public employment in New Jersey. At sentencing, Judge Bauman told Ammaturo the fired officer engaged in a “serious breach of the public trust” and said his misconduct was a “direct assault on the integrity of all law enforcement officers.”
In a related matter, earlier this month former Ocean Township police officer Ryan Vaccaro, 38, of Ocean Township, was accepted into the PreTrial Intervention (PTI) program by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas. The PTI admission came after his guilty plea in August when he admitted he unlawfully possessed Clenbuterol, a drug not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but often illegally used as a weight loss supplement. Vaccaro was charged in February 2019, as part of an investigation connected to Ammaturo, after investigators learned that Vaccaro provided Ammaturo with Clenbuterol. At the time of his guilty plea, Judge Lucas ordered Vaccaro forfeit his position as a police officer in Ocean Township and permanently forfeit all future public employment in New Jersey.
All the above referenced cases are assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.
Broschart and Vaccaro are both represented by Richard E. Incremona, Esq., of Freehold.
Dowling is represented by Lisa Krenkel, Esq., of Allenhurst.
Martinsen is represented by Joseph Surman, Esq., of New Brunswick.
Ammaturo is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq., of Ocean Township.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.