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.