Trooper Heads Back To Work In 2 Weeks * Shawn Meenan, Acquitted After `No Wives’ Beer Party Incident, Will Be On Restricted Duty At Lehighton Barracks.
September 05, 1998|by MIKE FRASSINELLI, The Morning Call
He got his name back when acquitted Wednesday of assaulting a fellow state trooper during a “no wives” beer party behind the Fern Ridge barracks last year.
In two weeks, Trooper Shawn Meenan will get his job back.
“My goal was to clear my name and get this dark cloud off of me and my family,” Meenan said Friday. “My second goal was to get back to work — and we achieved both goals.”
Meenan met with superiors at the Lehighton barracks Thursday, where he will return to restricted duty in two weeks. The incident at the beer party remains under investigation with the internal affairs division of the Pennsylvania State Police, which is considering other incidents related to Meenan.
After a jury was empaneled, Fern Ridge Trooper Tim Janosco on Wednesday dropped assault charges against Meenan stemming from an Oct. 2, 1997, party behind the Fern Ridge barracks in Tobyhanna Township, near the border of Monroe and Carbon counties.
The “no wives” bash — to celebrate the departure of a sergeant unpopular to some troopers — included a roasted pig adorned with sergeant stripes and holding in its mouth an apple covered with a picture of the unpopular trooper.
Janosco, who testified during a preliminary hearing that he drank up to 10 beers, told Meenan that his wife was not welcome at the party. An altercation between Meenan and the much larger Janosco resulted in Janosco needing up to 50 stitches on his face and forehead.
Janosco called it assault. Meenan’s lawyer called it self-defense.
Assistant District Attorney E. David Christine, who was given late information that cast doubt on at least part of Janosco’s story, said he could not in good conscience pursue the case. Janosco agreed to drop the charges.
Because the jury already was empaneled, the action officially was listed as an acquittal.
Meenan, suspended without pay for nearly a year, said Friday he will receive back pay.
Meenan will not be in a patrol car at first, which could be difficult for a 34-year-old who likes to be part of the action.
“He loves being a state policeman, that has been his dream and his goal,” said John Waldron, an Allentown lawyer who won the acquittal. “Now that he is back working again, he is going to be happy to start in whatever capacity he is in.”
Money got so tight for the Meenan family that his wife took a waitressing job. They have two young children.
Waldron said he thought the case should have been handled internally from the beginning and resolved long ago.
Jack Lewis, a Pennsylvania State Police spokesman in Harrisburg, said he was unsure whether a regulation prohibiting alcohol on state police property was violated.
While the building that housed the party is not on state police property, a question remains whether troopers parked on state police property to transport the booze.
“As part of the internal investigation, they will look at whether our own regulations were violated,” Lewis said.
Meanwhile, Meenan will have to qualify to be allowed to patrol.
He said superiors were cooperative during their meeting this week.
“They were fair with me,” he said.
“I want to get my life back. It was taken away from me with this accusation.”