Jim Gregory has been in and out of the local limelight since 1985, when he was terminated as a Lower Saucon cop for neglect of duty and excessive meal breaks. Over the years, he's been a state house candidate, Bethlehem City Council President, Bethlehem Mayoral candidate and union activist. After a particularly zany period in which he tried to run down a Governor Rendell bus and hopped a fence outside of City Hall, he found employment in Northampton County. Incredibly, it was as a mental health caseworker. After years of relative quiet, he started getting wacky again in 2013.
In May 2013, Geregory's then girlfriend was granted a temporary Protection From Abuse Act order (PFA) based on allegations that Gregory had "kicked, strangled, and choked her, bit her wrist, pushed 'really hard' on her eye sockets, and prevented her from leaving their residence." He had also sent her multiple threatening text messages.
Before there could ever be a final hearing, Gregory was cited for indirect criminal contempt. Following a hearing on July 3, 2013, Judge Leonard Zito entered a final PFA Order, found Gregory in contempt, and placed him on six months of supervised probation. Gregory was unable to stop himself from making contact and was cited for contempt again on July 13, 2013. This time he got a sentence of six months in jail, but Judge Zito relented and paroled Gregory on August 2, 2103, thanks to the outstanding advocacy of Gary Asteak.
Unfortunately, Gary's good counsel was for naught. Gregory continued to contact his ex-girlfriend in various strange ways, and eventually found himself facing five additional charges of indirect criminal contempt. A fed-up Judge Zito sent him away for 15 to 30 months. Here's what Gregory did:
- On July 13, 2013, while in the courtroom, he handed a note to his ex through his lawyer. "I loved you at hello,” he gushed as they carted him away,
- On July 22, 2013, Gregory sent his ex a love note through an inmate. "I loved you at hello,” he gushed again.
- On August 2, 2013, Gregory sent yet another love note through another inmate. "I loved you at hello.”
- On the day after his release from jail, he called her more than 20 times.
- Gregory also read a message to his ex from his radio show. "I gave you everything you wanted except my heart," he told her. "I didn’t do that, I apologize. You deserve that. If you come back, you’ll get it."
Judge Fitzgerald also quoted, with approval, this portion of Judge Zito's opinion:
[Gregory] had used his considerable intelligence and charm in a manipulative and arrogant manner. The Court rejected his attempt to deflect the blame for his comments during the radio show onto his alter ego. The Court also took a dim view of . . . [Gregory’s] attempt to circumvent the PFA through his fellow inmates.I should point out that the District Attorney's office plays no role in the prosecution of PFA contempt charges, and so advised the Court. Nevertheless, Gregory has had Mezzacappa publish several epistles blaming him. I've been warned to pack my bags, although I refuse to be intimidated by a woman beater.
At his sentencing, . . . [Gregory] handed the letter to [his ex's attorney] in person. The volitional nature of this act is not subject to question. With respect to the phone calls, the Court was entitled to reject . . . [Gregory’s] dubious claim that he had mistakenly dialed [his ex’s] number.
In addition, [his ex] testified that she had received at least twenty calls from the unidentified number later determined to belong to . . . [Gregory]. This volume of calls cannot be attributed to mistaken dialing. With respect to wrongful intent, we observe that . . . [Gregory] has attempted to trivialize his contemptuous conduct. The Court views his repeated transgressions with significantly less levity.
The precipitating event for the PFA was . . . [Gregory’s] unprovoked assault on [his ex]. . . . Thereafter, he continued to violate the letter and the spirit of the PFA. He used his radio show to entreat her to return to him. He enlisted his fellow inmates to write love letters to her. He telephoned her repeatedly from an unidentified number. He even handed her . . . attorney a letter during his sentencing for a prior contempt.
The one person he refuses to blame is himself.
When he gets out in February, the question is how long will he stay out.
Incidentally, yesterday was also the last day in which Tricia Mezzacappa could seek a review of my defamation judgment against her. If she has failed to do so, she needs to do one of two things: pay the judgment with interest and costs or hand over the deed to the house she fraudulently transferred to her mother. Failure to do so is just going to make things more expensive for her mother, who has been sued in federal court.