.

Judge: Complaint Against St. James Gate Bartender Should Move Forward

A judge ruled on Thursday the citizen's complaint against James Meade has probable cause.


A Bloomfield municipal court judge ruled a complaint accusing a Maplewood bartender of assaulting a patron should move forward. 

Chief Municipal Magistrate Judge John A. Paparazzo found probable cause Thursday after hearing testimony from 24-year-old South Orange resident, Ethan Kresofsky, accusing St. James’s Gate Publick House's bartender, James Meade, of assault.

Kresofsky testified in connection with a Jan. 8 incident in which he asked Meade for a drink at about 1:40 a.m. and Meade allegedly said no. When asked why, Kresofsky told the judge Meade made a homophobic slur aimed at him.

The verbal altercation soon turned violent, Kresofsky said. 

"He was noticeably intoxicated," Kresofsky said. The two began shoving and grabbing. Kresofsky told the judge the two spat at each other and Meade then punched Kresofsky in the face. 

The two then made their way outside, he told the judge, where his friends were holding Meade back.

"I was antagonizing him," Kresofsky said. "[Meade] saw his opportunity, pushed my friend and punched me in the face. Then he ran up and kicked me in the face."

Kresofsky told the judge he went to Saint Barnabas Medical Center that night and was treated for bruises to his face. 

Meade or a lawyer did not attend the hearing Thursday morning.  

St. James’s Gate Publick House owner John Meade Sr., James Meade's father, issued a press release on Jan. 15, saying, "The recent altercation that occurred outside of St. James’s Gate is an unfortunate and isolated incident." The entire release is attached as a PDF to this article.

Reached at the pub Thursday afternoon, John Meade, Jr., brother of James Meade and also an employee, said the family was taking the matter "seriously."

Saying he wasn't able to comment further, he added, "I'm very upset about it and so are we all."

Check back for more updates on this story as it develops. 

Nancy Heins-Glaser January 25, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Its not a good thing - ever - with this type of incident/never. Mr. Meade wrote the PR note but omitted to say the bartender on medical leave was his son. its upsetting for everyone i know - and others I dont. Wording of the conversations in the article seemed unclear/hazy. Transcripts can be best for discussing what is actually said/words chosen and explanations of the mood or environment. Unless you are an experienced court reporter or transcriptionist, missing one word can change the entire meaning of an incident. Writers/news outlets generally want to portray things exactly as they occur. As an online blog through the years, Patch, seems dedicated to do this better than most online sources. Its a new world now; real media with verified sources and "names to protect" are disappearing. The only thing that seems we want to protect is a person's right to loose talk - putting others down with no consequence. Restaurant customers thru time is a sign of good food but not always good manners or behavior. People go into food business to make others happy - send them home smiling. My Dad had 24 hour family restaurants for 40 yrs. I didnt chose the field due to the stressors and disruption to our famiily; add alcohol - challenges are bigger! Assaultive bartenders seem unusal. The absence or presence of sexual bias trends requires real search. If its a rare incident, this will be confirmed in court. If its a pattern and has happened before, its long past time to stop it.
unleb January 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM
Don't know what actually happened, that's for the courts to decide I guess, but I do know this: If John Meade Sr. wants to present himself as "an important part of the community" and he wants "everyone to feel welcome", he needs to apologize. Not release a statement through a PR company, but simply deal with this in a personal, straightforward way. A patron got punched, by his son (and an employee). Simply not acceptable. It doesn't really seem to support his framing of The Gate as a local, friendly place if he has to hide behind someone else's words. Most people do love The Gate. Just deal with this in a straightforward and honest way. A simple apology and an effort to bring clarity will go a long way.
Prosper January 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Some people just want to condemn the whole establishment for one incident. Despite the "victim's" claim it was 1:40 am, St. Jamesgates' clock is normally set ahead by 15-20 min, so it was probably after "last call". Every establishment retains the right not to serve someone. The quote of the victim is interesting: "I was antagonizing him," Kresofsky said. "[Meade] saw his opportunity, pushed my friend and punched me in the face. Then he ran up and kicked me in the face." What does he mean by "antagonizing" Who was the real aggressor here? And why fault the owner for putting out a neutral statement? Would you not defend you business and your son if an "antagonizer" didn't exercise his duty to retreat?
Morrisa da Silva January 25, 2013 at 02:20 PM
" Wording of the conversations in the article seemed unclear/hazy. Transcripts can be best for discussing what is actually said/words chosen and explanations of the mood or environment. Unless you are an experienced court reporter or transcriptionist, missing one word can change the entire meaning of an incident. "Writers/news outlets generally want to portray things exactly as they occur. " Yes I agree with Ms. Heins-Glaser's statement above. Patch included the full text of a PR release written by St. James Gate - yet attempts to portray a legal proceeding with a few sentences. You should include a transcript of Mr. Kresofsky's full explanation to the judge as well as anything the judge said. That would be fair.
sherry January 25, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Until there is an apology issued I won't be going to this bar(and I liked it). This kind of gay- bashing can not be tolerated in our community. Though it may be an isolated incident I will not support a business that treats people this way
Prosper January 25, 2013 at 02:44 PM
It's good to have an open mind in he said she said incidents. St Jamesgate often sponsors gay friendly nights so one might consider that in reaching a conclusion.
Prosper January 25, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Also, if it didn't happen the way one side claims, what is the purpose of taking the blame through an apology. Calling it an unfortunate incident is taking the high road without assessing blame before all the truth is revealed.
unleb January 25, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Prosper, we'll have to agree to disagree. Anyone who wraps themselves in the "we're just like you, local family establishment" and then issues a press release instead of a personal statement doesn't sound very genuine to me, YMMV. Also, In a service industry, it's the bartender that has the "duty to retreat", unless there was some direct, immediate, unavoidable threat of violence. I would not defend my son for punching and kicking a customer in the face, unless, again, there was some direct, immediate threat of physical violence. That's just me, but I expect my kids to walk away unless they have no choice, and in this case, given that it was a bar, with other employees around, I would guess that there was a choice, other than coming out from behind the bar, exiting the bar and then engaging in a physical confrontation that involved punching and kicking a patron in the face. These are, of course, only allegations at this time, so we will see what the court determines. All of that said, I still think a more direct, personal statement would have bee better received, at least it would have been better received by me.
Prosper January 25, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Of course unprovoked violence is not to be tolerated. And anti gay behavior shouldn't be tolerated either. But the one sided version of the account should not persuade you without hearing the full story. The accused cannot be forced to give up his right to remain silent and one cannot jump to a conclusion of guilt merely because the accused is exercising that right. Jails are full of people falsely accused. Defendants who give up their right to remain silent to the police (or worse, to the press) often pay the price even when the cop tells the accused he "will put in a good word to the judge if" he cooperates. It's a big Constitutional right that should never be relinquished lightly.
Voice of Reason January 25, 2013 at 04:49 PM
So if someone wants to smear a business in this town all they have to do is claim an anti-gay slur and hundreds will immediately go on the warpath? Not saying this is what happened here but all we have is an acusation and a complaint. If it turns out the incident occurred as reported, fine, but all I've read is there was an altercation at 2 AM at a bar on a weeknight, a time which many of us are in bed sleeping in anticipation of getting up for work in the morning.
William H. Lorentz January 25, 2013 at 05:01 PM
And you know that to be a fact? How? And your preferred remedy is to "punch him out"? Sounds oh-so-macho, maybe a bit primitive. Or just stereotypical barbarian behavior, not something about which to beat your chest in public, at least among the civilized. Yes, indeed, you should be "sorry."
David Goldman January 25, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Bartenders have the right to pick up a phone and contact the police IF they are threatened. And unless under direct attack or threat of being attacked, should not physically touch any customer-period! The reputation of their establishment will then be held liable. As someone who knows one of the close friends of "the victim," I know firsthand based on medical studies, that a KICK to the head to anyone is potentially blinding, can be a pre-cursor in later years to Parkinson's if concussed hard enough, and potentially life threatening as in "the kick" can KILL someone. So, no one is guilty until the court says so-agreed...but enough info about what happened is OUT and beyond the gay-slur by a bartender whose breath wreaked of alcohol, I too have decided that the establishment's public remarks were meek at best w/the guidance they received, and I will not frequent the establishment should the court verify all I have learned about the incident...or, until I learn that the bartender has completed anger management therapy and alcohol treatment. And BTW, the police wrote up this assault w/kid gloves and maplewoodonline.com has wiped out all talk about the incident every time it appears-so, please know many people behind the scenes are trying to minimize the owner's exposure to negative PR about this. Isolated or not-IF a bartender kicked my kid in the face I'd likely be behind bars right now. There is no tolerance for bigotry and physical violence of such a severe nature.
John Dough January 25, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Lee, your skepticism is disheartening. This is a hate crime, and to question the report's integrity signifies your own ignorance to the sensitivity of such an issue.
John Dough January 25, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Even if Kresofsky's request for a drink was after the last call, the altercation began when Meade aimed an overtly derogatory slur at Kresofsky. Such language indicates Meade's disposition and makes it clear that his actions were fueled not only by antagonization on Kresofsky's part, but his own prejudice.
Shamrock1224 January 26, 2013 at 02:03 AM
We'd been to the Pub previously and enjoyed the music, and some Guinness. What's sad is that it's a nice Pub, and that all of the fighting had to happen. Both parties were immature, and being drunk didn't help. What I am puzzled about is why the case was heard by a "Bloomfield Judge". Anybody got an idea, why it wasn't in the Maplewood Courts? The reason Meade Sr. may not be issuing an apology, is that his attorney and Ins Co may not want him too. Once he apologizes, he leaves his Ins Co wide open for a claim. It may get filed anyway later on once the case gets settled.
Dan Kings January 26, 2013 at 06:41 PM
I grew up in Maplewood and returned recently for my 10 year reunion from Columbia HS. I happen to be gay as well, and after my last experience at St. James Gate, I know better than to ever set foot in that bar again. THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED INSIDENT by any means. That young Meade is a violent and hateful drunk, and the township is much too small for that fact to be kept secret much longer. This is not the first (or last) time an insident like this has or will occurr, simply the first time someone felt courageous enough to speak up. I, for one, feel hopeful now that this conversation is finally being had after so many years. is inexcusable for the Messenger family t.
wKsqk January 27, 2013 at 02:15 PM
test
wKsqk January 27, 2013 at 02:16 PM
apple doesn't fall far from the gate. Honestly this wont change anything, the gate is the only game in town.
Rick January 27, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I heard that the case was held in Bloomfield because the local judge is a friend of the family, and asked to have the case passed to the nearest venue.
Alex C January 28, 2013 at 12:07 AM
It's a bar stuff happens. If it was 1:40 AM it's likely it was after last call, and that's why the bartender said no. I've never been to the Gate that late at night, but I know all SO bars stop serving at 1:30. As for the hate crime thing, give me a break. First off, it's not even clear that the alleged victim is gay, or that the bartender knew he was gay. People use the f- word against people they know is not gay all the time. And the alleged victim himself admitted that he was antagonizing the bartender. He sounds like an opportunist looking for a lawsuit. Hate crimes in general should be wiped off the books. It violates the principle of equal protection under the law, when some classes of people receive more protection than others. If the bartender had called him an a**hole this would be non news, and he'd be facing a much lighter penalty. That's not okay. Gay people rightfully demand equality. But if you want equality, you need to mean equality. No special protected classes.
Steve Mershon January 28, 2013 at 01:36 AM
@Alex C -- Just to clarify: 1) Hate crime laws protect straight people from being targeted for being straight just as fully as they protect gay people from being targeted for being gay. Hate crimes laws protect ALL orientations equally. 2) The alleged victim has publicly acknowledged that he is gay. 3) As for "he'd be facing a much lighter penalty", please note that the legal summons/complaint filed against the bar tender is for simple assault only (for the alleged pushing, spitting, hitting, and kicking) and is unrelated to the alleged slur. There has been NO hate crime charge filed by the complainant or the legal authorities at this time.
Mike Stocker January 28, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Steve, you have it exactly right. But whatever the legal claim is against the bartender for assaulting a patron, the community has its own right to deliver a clear message to the pub. A bar employee assaulting a patron in the bar and the parking lot doesn't fall in the category of drunken high jinks. And whether he used the f****** term as a universal put down, or, more likely, to identify somebody who deserved to be beaten, it means something about him. And it means something about our town if we don't take this seriously.
Jane Doh January 28, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Great family. I have known them my whole life. How dare anyone take a side in an incident that none of us had Been witness to. As for the graduate of Collumbia HS who said this is not an isolated incident, why then did you continue to go there (as a gay individual) if you knew that to be true.
Meghan January 28, 2013 at 03:34 AM
There is a lot of talk on yelp.com under St. James Gate and several witness reports of what occurred that night. It's doesn't sound good...
Meghan January 28, 2013 at 03:38 AM
I'm just concerned as to why the patch left all the gay slurs out of their report from the court house? If the main focus of the case is that it was a hate crime and assault then why didn't they quote the guy on that part of the situation?
Alex C January 28, 2013 at 04:45 AM
Back when we had school separation, the legal justification is that the schools treated different races as separate but equal. This was overturned as the courts found that you just could not argue that separation of people by races would not inherently lead to inequality. I believe you could argue the same principles in regards to hate crime laws. I don't think any serious person would argue that hate crime laws do not offer disproportionate protections to specially defined groups of people. To say nothing of the fact that they do technically tread the line of punishing speech and thought, two things that are also illegal. My mistake, the article and some other comments left me with the impression that hate crimes charges were being filed. But the point remains the same. Let's say any assailant uses a generic vulgarity, not a racial or homophobic slur. Now lets say someone uses a racial or homophobic slur. If person B is given a stiffer punishment, you just cannot argue that the law that lead to the stiffer punishment is punishing language, not an action. We punish actions in this country, not thoughts, or words. Not that I am defending racism or homophobia. But in order to defend true equality under the law, and free speech, sometimes you need to play devil's advocate.
David Goldman January 29, 2013 at 05:15 PM
"Bartenders have the right to pick up a phone and contact the police IF they are threatened. And unless under direct attack or threat of being attacked, should not physically touch any customer-period! The reputation of their establishment will then be held liable. As someone who knows one of the close friends of "the victim," I know firsthand based on medical studies, that a KICK to the head to anyone is potentially blinding, can be a pre-cursor in later years to Parkinson's if concussed hard enough, and potentially life threatening as in "the kick" can KILL someone. So, no one is guilty until the court says so-agreed...but enough info about what happened is OUT and beyond the gay-slur by a bartender whose breath was linked to alcohol, I too have decided that the establishment's public remarks were meek at best w/the guidance they received, and I will not frequent the establishment should the court verify all I have learned about the incident...or, until I learn that the bartender has completed anger management therapy and alcohol treatment. And BTW, the police wrote up this assault w/kid gloves and maplewoodonline.com has wiped out all talk about the incident every time it appears-so, please know many people behind the scenes are trying to minimize the owner's exposure to negative PR about this. Isolated or not-IF a bartender kicked my kid in the face I'd likely be behind bars right now. There is no tolerance for bigotry and physical violence of such a severe nature."
Nancy Heins-Glaser January 31, 2013 at 09:11 PM
This occurrence was on 1/8/13; its reported in todays News Record of 1/31/13. Its good to read a sourced story, rather than just public blog comments - this includes my own. If its been written in the press, I did not see it elsewhere except on local blogs; you had to dig to find it on one blog as it was listed under "food" and other titles not part of "assault charges" NR's story on pg 6 may be out of respect. Discretion isnt always the case with such stories of a personal nature. Board of Ed budgets took front page; numbers are easier to write about than these scenarios in small towns. Blogs challenges us; posts often morph away from the original post. The 1/8/13 local incident took place at a late hour. A patron asked for a drink but was refused; an anti-gay slur is stated to have been made. There's reported spitting, biting and hitting in- & outdoors with employee following a patron outside. Police were called by tenants upstairs of the bar. Per statements, police talked w/people but then suggested they disperse. At NR's deadline, there was no court date yet after judge agreed there was reason to proceed. Why Bloomfield? Maybe its a factor the "accused" is brother of a MPWD policeman? The restaurant's PR note of 1/15 is re-printed: "its an isolated incident"- "the bartender is on medical leave." I hope things proceed so there is light on the truth, justice is served and healing from the hurt begins.
Dan Kings February 04, 2013 at 07:29 PM
I have not been there since, nor will I again. People have a right to visit an establishment without fear of being harassed by a member of the staff. Friend of the family or no, this type of behavior is indefensible.
Mary Ann Uschak February 22, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Go to Highland Place, on Highland Place around the corner. It's what Maplewood Village always was and should be......a polished, respectable town. We saw the reconstruction of Highland Place and could see how much work was done to it. We use to go there when we worked at NJTransit and it was the Winolear. I was there on Sunday, February 17, around 9 PM since it was the beginning of my vacation. It was pleasant as always, and I only stopped frequenting it because I was so busy. I stopped in to relax at the bar and felt comfortable, especially as a woman, without a male escort, or a girlfriend...which is the "NORM" these days, IT'S 2013!! Three cheers for Highland Place!!!!

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