1 p.m.: The article has been updated with a quote from C.J. Prince of North Jersey Pride.
An assault case stemming from a January incident at St. James's Gate Publick House has been settled and all charges were dismissed Thursday, both parties said. Three months after an alleged assault at the popular Maplewood bar, the case ended with both men shaking hands and apologizing.
At a hearing Thursday morning, Bloomfield Chief Municipal Magistrate Judge John A. Paparazzo dismissed all assault charges that James Meade and Ethan Kresofsky had brought against each another.
"[Meade] said he wished this had never happened and that he would learn from it as a member of the community and as a father," said Kresofsky, standing outside the courtroom with his parents shortly after the charges were dropped.
Kresofsky said he told the judge he apologized for any injuries he had caused Meade (he admitted to biting Meade's finger in the altercation).
"I apologized for letting it get to that point; I could have been the bigger man," Kresofsky said.
Kresofsky said he was pleased with the outcome. "I didn't want to ruin his life," he said. As part of the agreement, Meade paid Kresofsky $400 for medical bills related to the incident. Both men also agreed to have no further contact with each other.
Meade was not immediately available for comment; however, his brother, John Meade, Jr. spoke later this morning at the pub about the relief he and his family felt.
"It's been a long couple of months," said Meade. "We are elated for the good news and want to put this to bed."
Meade said the incident had taken a toll on the small, family-run business. "This hurt our feelings quite a bit," he said. "We are happy it's over."
Meade said the family wanted to continue to be viewed as a respectable business "as we have been for more than ten years."
John Meade, Sr. said he was happy that both sides came to an agreement. "Anyone who knows the Meade family knows we are true Maplewoodians, we have raised five children in a house where no foul language was tolerated and there was never denigration of anyone in the community."
Meade, Sr. said when a member of the local LGBTQ community approached James several years ago about holding a regular event at the pub (later called "Gay Night at the Gate"), James readily agreed. "[The woman] felt comfortable asking us," said Meade, Sr., who added, "Nobody cared if they were straight or gay." (The group later moved to Coda when it grew too large for the pub to accommodate it.)
John Meade, Jr. said the pub was "open to suggestions for things we can do for the community." He mentioned that they would be interested in sponsoring the upcoming North Jersey Pride Festival, a week-long series of events in Maplewood involving the gay and straight communities. "Absolutely," said Meade.
On Monday afternoon, the pub agreed to sponsor the festival. "We're delighted that St. James Gate has decided to be an Equality Sponsor of North Jersey Pride," said event organizer C.J. Prince. "They wanted to send a message to the LGBT community that they care about our business and want us back, and I think this does that."
"We did it to show the community that we want to move forward in a positive direction," said Meade, Jr.
Both men said they were dismayed by a recent petition that had demanded James Meade's dismissal. "That would be a very nice thing [for that to go away]," said Meade, Sr.
The pub also faces charges brought by the town that it allegedly served a minor. A hearing on those charges will be held in May.