Ex-cop’s ‘psychotic episode’ costs town more than $217K
ROBBINSVILLE — A lawsuit against a police sergeant accused of attacking a caregiver who saw the officer also attack a disabled couple and their 4-year-old son has been settled by the municipality for $100,000.
The officer, meanwhile, also reached a $117,500 settlement with the township in 2016 for a lawsuit in which he claimed the department did nothing to accommodate a physical disability that led to the "psychotic episode."
The settlement was first reported by NJCivilSettlements.com, a blog maintained by open government advocate John Paff. The site also said the township settled a separate suit with the couple, whose identities were not disclosed. The terms of that settlement have not been released.
Prosecutors in 2012 said Sgt. Mark Lee violently attacked Bashemah Rountree, 45, inside the home of the couple she was caring for in an assisted living facility called Project Freedom.
Lee tried to remove the child's clothes from the boy and threw Rountree against a wall when she tried to stop him, authorities said at the time. At one point, Lee knocked the boy's mother from her wheelchair, prosecutors said.
It was not clear why the officer went to the apartment to begin with.
According to Rountree's lawsuit against the township, responding officers found Lee sitting in an undershirt and his police uniform trousers. While being taken back to police headquarters, Lee screamed, cried and prayed in the back of a police vehicle unable to carry on a normal conversation, officers said.
Lee later kicked out a window to escape from a police vehicle before he was recaptured, prosecutor said at the time.
He was taken to the crisis unit at Capital Health Medical Center in Trenton where he underwent a series of tests. Doctors blamed his behavior on calcium deposits in his brain.
Lee was charged with aggravated assault and official misconduct.
Lee later was found to have been suffering from a neurological condition at the time of the incident.
Under the terms of a plea deal with Lee, prosecutors said charges would be dropped if the 19-year police veteran successfully completed a three-year pretrial intervention program that requires continued medical and psychiatric treatment.
He also resigned from the department.
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