Man Accused of Defiling School Track Appears in Court

June 14, 2018
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Thomas Tramaglini, the Kenilworth schools superintendent arrested for allegedly defecating at the Holmdel High School track last month, appeared in Holmdel court for the first time Tuesday morning. Photo by Jay Cook

By Jay Cook |

HOLMDEL – The Kenilworth Public Schools Superintendent arrested last month for allegedly defecating daily at the Holmdel High School track is trying to flush out inaccuracies in a police video catching him in the act.

Thomas Tramaglini, 42, of Aberdeen, appeared in Holmdel municipal court for the first time June 12 but didn’t provide reporters or the court any insight into his alleged actions.

In fact, Tramaglini didn’t utter a single word during the brief six-and-a-half-minute-long court session before Municipal Court Judge Mary H. Casey.

Holmdel municipal prosecutor Steven A. Zabarsky said there is evidence against Tramaglini, who was charged with public urination/defecation, littering and lewdness after his arrest April 30. Police and Holmdel High School staff caught Tramaglini relieving himself near the track around Bob Roggy Field at the high school just before 6 a.m. that morning.

Copies of audio from Holmdel Police dispatch that morning and a surveillance video were provided to the defense during discovery, Zabarsky said. A narrative report, evidence report and the summonses issued were also included, he said.

Zabarsky also said there was another witness to the incident and that person should provide testimony going forward.

One of Tramaglini’s lawyers, Matthew S. Adams, told the judge the defense had issues with the video surveillance provided. Adams said “compromised video snippets” were provided instead of the original, unedited footage. Adams added that the video’s “metadata was compromised.”

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About the authenticity of the video, Zabarsky said he’s “seeing if we can resource the original camera and make a copy.”

Both sides agreed that additional correspondence between Adams and Zabarsky,  would be needed before another court date.

Tramaglini’s court hearing lasted just as long as the downtime between classes during a normal high school day. He arrived about four minutes before he was due in court at 10 a.m., emerging from the backseat of a black SUV in a grey suit with a baby blue tie.

Camera crews and reporters with notebooks enveloped Tramaglini as he arrived at town hall Tuesday and after the hearing. He neither acknowledged nor spoke to multiple reporters during his walks to and from the car, instead walking straight forward with his head tilted down.

It was a rare scene in Holmdel, a quiet town of approximately 16,600 that doesn’t typically experience much media fanfare.

Adams, Tramaglini’s attorney, also brushed off reporters, but offered a statement later Tuesday.

“Leaks, half-truths, and outright falsehoods about a good man with an exceptional record of public service are not a substitute for admissible evidence,” Adams wrote in an emailed statement. “Today was only the beginning of the constitutionally secured due process that Dr. Tramaglini is entitled to receive.”

Outside town hall after Tramaglini’s departure, Holmdel resident Adam Geller said he came to the hearing because he “was curious to see what the Holmdel pooper had to say.”

Geller said he has two children at Holmdel High School and said he wasn’t expecting a high school superintendent to be arrested for defecating near the track facility there.

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“I would think somebody like that would in fact know better,” Geller said. “If I were a parent in Kenilworth, I’d have some serious questions as to if this guy belongs at that school.”

Ray Raya, Holmdel’s public defender of 14 years, who is not involved in Tramaglini’s case, said he believes Tramaglini should come clean about the incident.

“I think that the world does want to know why this happened and whether there’s any kind of criminal intent,” said Raya. “I think that’s what this case is going to turn on.”

Days after his arrest, Tramaglini was put on paid administrative leave from the Kenilworth Public Schools district. He is paid $147,504 a year.

No future court date for Tramaglini was set.

This article was first published in the June 14-June 21, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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