West Milford Man, Falsely Accused, Seeks Justice
July 23, 2012
He fought to get the bail reduced from prosecution’s request of $25,000 (no 10-percent option) and for the door to visitation with the 9-year-old to remain open if Crowley meets Family Court requirements.
“I haven’t seen my son for a year,” said Crowley, who is undergoing therapy in the hopes of being able to visit.
Judge Clark decided to leave it up to Family Court whether Crowley should have any kind of visitation with her son down the road.
She also set bail at $5,000 (no 10-percent option) and gave Crowley a deadline to make payment or face incarceration.
For Stitt, who appeared in the courthouse on Monday, the consequences of false charges against him were devastating.
He lost two months of contact with his son, who stayed with his grandmother in Stitt’s West Milford home (where he had been living) during his dad’s incarceration, said Stitt’s attorney Bill Johnson. When Stitt was released from jail, Johnson said, he still was denied contact with his son and therefore had to make other living arrangements for himself. Just before Christmas 2011, Stitt was allowed to return home.
Then there was media coverage of the allegations that Stitt hit Crowley with a caulking gun at a Wanaque location and also threatened her with what appeared to be a pistol before driving to his Oak Ridge section home.
Authorities recovered a .31-caliber black powder handgun in his vehicle, but the jury found no evidence to move forward on the weapons charge, Pfund confirmed back in February.
Nor did the jury find evidence supporting the other claims, she said.
Furthermore, Stitt told Suburban Trends he sustained a financial loss from being falsely charged of at least $60,000, including about $20,000 in fees to a bail bondsman for his release from prison as well as the cost of hiring a lawyer to represent him.
None of these expenses have been reimbursed even though Stitt has been cleared of all charges.
His work truck was also seized by local law enforcement and was only restored by a court order that took effect on Nov. 18, 2011, Johnson said.
“I’m a victim of a horrible thing,” Stitt said after court on Monday. He added that although he and Crowley had issues regarding the custody of their son, being handcuffed and jailed on a phony assault charge “was very much a surprise” to him.
As Stitt’s lawyer, Johnson said he was pleased an indictment had been rendered against Crowley and De Witt because “those charges (against Stitt) had a substantial impact. He was incarcerated in the Passaic County Jail for a considerable length of time (a few weeks). He was financially unable to work while there.”
Like Stitt, Johnson looks for justice.
“When people make false allegations, especially ones as serious as these, it jeopardizes the proper functioning of the justice system. People who do that have to be held accountable.”
Johnson previously said that “false reporting with relation to domestic violence is a huge problem.”
While De Witt is scheduled to appear before Judge Clark this coming Monday, Crowley’s case has been continued until Aug. 27, also before Judge Clark.