MANVILLE – A Superior Court judge is scheduled to rule next month whether to grant a motion from a borough police lieutenant to be dropped from a lawsuit brought against the borough and the police chief by a longtime police department employee alleging the chief sexually harassed and assaulted her over a dozen years.
Lt. Paul Meixner has asked Superior Court Judge Kevin Shanahan to dismiss the charges that he allegedly pointed a loaded shotgun in police headquarters at Kristine Bujalski who filed the lawsuit.
Shanahan is scheduled to rule on Meixner's motion on Sept. 9.
In February, Bujalski, who worked for the borough police department since May 2000, filed the lawsuit alleging she was the victim of sexual harassment and sexual assault committed by Chief Thomas Herbst.
Meixner, who has denied all the allegations, was named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit with Herbst, who has also denied the allegations.
But, Meixner's lawyers argue, he is named in only 15 of the 265 paragraphs in the lawsuit and that was in connection with an incident unrelated to the allegations against the chief.
"(Meixner) will be more a footnote during the trial," the lawyers argued.
"There are no specific facts linking Defendant Meixner to any of Defendant Herbst's conduct," Meixner's lawyers wrote in a brief, adding Meixner did not witness any of the chief's alleged actions.
"The charges against Meixner and Herbst are worlds apart," Meixner's lawyers wrote in their brief. "Any reasonable person reading the complaint would objectively state that the claims are completely separate and apart."
In the lawsuit, Bujalski alleged that at police headquarters, Meixner pointed a loaded shotgun at her and said, "you want me to do what for you Kris" because she had asked him to do some work which she was unable to do.
Meixner laughed and, the lawsuit said, "he seemed to relish in the demonstration of power over an unarmed and helpless female and frightening her with a loaded weapon."
Meixner’s lawyers wrote in their brief that Bujalski "has not shown any facts to support her claims."
Bujalski said in the lawsuit that it was the incident with Meixner that prompted her to go to court.
The lawsuit alleges that from 2008 to 2021, Herbst "engaged in a prolonged pattern and practice of abhorrent sexual harassment and repeated sexual assault against (Bujalski) while acting as her direct supervisor in the police department" and that she endured "continual unwelcome and repellant sexual touching and sexual intercourse against her will perpetrated by Herbst."
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Manville police lieutenant wants out of sex assault lawsuit