Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hammonton School District Employee Loses Appeal on Conviction of Lewdness

MAYS LANDING – The conviction in municipal court of a Hammonton school district employee for an act of lewdness in 2015 was upheld last week by the Atlantic County Superior Court, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
On or about September 11, 2015, an off-duty police officer of another municipality was in the parking lot of the South Jersey Laundry in Hammonton, NJ, when he observed a man sitting inside a parked car masturbating. The officer attempted to detain the man, but the man drove his vehicle from the parking lot. The officer alerted others inside the business to call police, and he unsuccessfully attempted to locate the car.

On September 26, 2015, the off-duty police officer again saw the man and car, this time parked in a different Hammonton business parking lot. He followed the vehicle briefly obtained the license plate number, and contacted Hammonton Police Department.
Further investigation led to the identification of the man seen two weeks before masturbating in public to be Michael P. Ryan, 51, of the 100 block of Birch Drive, Hammonton, NJ. Ryan was charged on a summons complaint with Lewdness, a disorderly persons offense.
Because of the defendant’s public employment in the Hammonton public school district, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office superseded the municipal prosecutor and represented the State in the matter. The case was transferred to Absecon Municipal Court due to the potential conflict of interest.
Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey presented the State’s case on October 28, 2016 before Municipal Court Judge John Rosenberger. On November 14, 2016, Judge Rosenberger found Ryan guilty of an act of Lewdness on September 11, 2015, sentencing him to one year of probation, and $664.00 in fines and fees.
Ryan appealed the conviction to Superior Court on December 2, 2016. On May 4, 2017, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Donna A. Taylor heard oral argument from both the State and the Defense. Assistant Prosecutor Melinda Harrigan represented the State in the appeal.
On Thursday, May 18, 2017, Judge Taylor denied Ryan’s appeal of the Municipal Court’s conviction, finding that “the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant is guilty of lewdness.”

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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