Strange Justice

Two former public servants were in Judge Thomas F. Scully’s courtroom this morning to be sentenced for crimes to which they had negotiated plea bargains.

The courtroom was crowded for former Eatontown detective Philip Emanuelle’s sentencing.  On one side of the gallery were Emanuelle’s wife, and many supporters.  On the other side was the 25 year old woman who said she was raped by Emanuelle while he was armed, the woman’s family and many supporters.   The tearful and tragic emotion in the room was raw.

Emanuelle, 33, of Brick Township, served in the Eatontown Police Department for eight years.  He was charged with one count of Sexual Assault, two counts of Official Misconduct, a count of third degree Criminal Coercion and a fourth degree count of Tampering with Physical Evidence.

The Sexual Assault charge and the Official Misconduct charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.  He was sentenced to five years probation, the loss of his job, and prohibited from public employment for life for the Criminal Coercion and the Tampering with Physical Evidence charges.  Emanuelle left the courthouse with his family and friends.

A different and smaller crowd was in the courtroom a short while later.  There were no tears shed by former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham or his family. Burham quoted Kipling’s The Road Less Traveled, while pleading with Scully to give him a lesser sentence than the one to which he had already agreed to serve.

Burnham, who presided over Brookdale for more than two decades, pled guilty to stealing roughly $44,000 from Monmouth County’s community college;  $24,000 in charges for personal expenses to the college’s credit cards over an 8 year period and $20,000 in tuition reimbursement for his son that had already been paid for by the federal government.   He was sentenced to five years in State Prison with no eligibility for parole for the first two years. Burnham was taken into custody after sentencing.

Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor, Christopher J. Gramiccioni, described Burnhman as “a king who ruled Brookdale with an iron fist,” a greedy arrogant man compensated very generously with a pay package worth over $300,000 per year who still betrayed the public trust by stealing $44,000.

In contrast, Emmanuelle’s victim graphically described being forcibly raped after she declined to perform oral sex on the detective who was still wearing his gun during the act.  She said another victim had come forth.  Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Schweers told Scully that his office did not believe they had sufficient evidence to prosecute Emanuelle for the other woman’s allegations.

The victim asked Scully to disregard the plea bargain that she agreed to and send Emanuelle to prison.

Scully told Emanuelle that his actions were “utterly hideous.”  The judge repeatedly expressed his shock at the high level of support Emanuelle was receiving from his wife, family and friends. Then Scully gave Emanuelle a longer probationary term than callled for in the plea agreement.

Burnham went to jail today.  Emmanuelle went home.

The fact that these two sentencing hearings occurred back to back is legally irrelevant. While they occurred moments apart, they seemed like alternate realities playing out on the same stage after a brief intermission.

Each case was probably disposed of justly on its own merits.   But viewed together, back to back, by a layman, it seemed that the cop got away with rape while the college president went to jail for a relatively minor infraction.  Burnham’s infraction seemed very minor compared to Emanuelle’s crime. Yet Burnham’s next five years will be much harsher than Emanuelle’s.

Posted: November 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor, Peter Burnham, Philip Emmanuelle, Public Corruption | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

7 Comments on “Strange Justice”

  1. Politicalpony said at 10:53 pm on November 30th, 2012:

    You call theft of $44,000 and the abuse of many people around him minor? As you said yourself, he betrayed the trust of the public and not only abused his authority but went far beyond it. And oh yes he was arrogant. That lead him to believe he could do the things he did and would never be touched. I know of a whole lot of people like this in our US Congress, perhaps we should have County Committee and Sherif take a ride down to DC and clean up that mess. Bottom line, he got what he had coming. To bad about hsi family losing him for a time. But ten dollars says in 2 years you’ll be revisiting this story and talking about how he made parole in 2 years and a day.

  2. Art Gallagher said at 11:05 pm on November 30th, 2012:


    I said relatively minor. As is relative to what Emanuelle did.

  3. PonySpeller said at 11:55 pm on November 30th, 2012:

    Pony, I can assume you don’t have any daughters (or a dictionary either). A police officer using his position to rape women is horrendous. $44K can be recovered… this young women’s mental state has been altered forever. I, for one, don’t believe this was an isolated case. It was just the only one they could take to trial.

  4. Abuse of power and privilege, said at 11:15 am on December 1st, 2012:

    Whatever form it takes, is far too common today.. Agree the rape is worse, and most of these acts also rape the taxpayers,once again. Loss of job, freedom and personal reputation for one’s bad choices are one thing, loss of a great little college’s reputation is another fallout of the arrogance, as well.when u look up Brookdale on Wikipedia, it’s more about Burnham than what a good deal it is as a school. Will take years to repair. Between the media exploitation and over-exaggeration, so much good becomes back seat to the headlines. Sad.

  5. Knight In Shining Armor said at 9:15 am on December 2nd, 2012:

    This proves the point that the worst thing you can do in our society is steal money. Or… you can get away with injustice until you get caught stealing $$.

  6. Two classes of Americans said at 2:34 pm on December 2nd, 2012:

    There are two groups of Americans, not rich and poor, but Police Officers and the rest of you. Continue to call these kids “heros” for hiding along the side of the road waiting to write traffic tickets and they will continue to abuse their power.

  7. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » More Strange Justice: A Warning to Public Servants said at 1:12 pm on January 18th, 2013:

    […] November I wrote Strange Justice, a piece about my observations of the criminal sentencings of former Brookdale Community Community […]