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West Orange Restaurant Owner gets Probation

Thomas Halligan pleaded guilty to juvenile related charges in January

The owner of Halligan's Public House in West Orange, Thomas Halligan, received a sentence of three years probation this week after pleading guilty to sexually touching a juvenile and giving the victim drugs, authorities said.

Halligan, who was sentenced by Judge Peter J. Vazquez, was also forced to relinquish the liquor license for his bar, according to Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

"Given the fragile state of the victim, we believe this is the best outcome," Carter wrote in an email message on Friday.

Halligan, 50, had pleaded guilty to the charges in January before Judge Joseph Isabella, .

Sexual contact between Halligan and the 15-year-old boy occurred between April 2010 and April 2011, according to Carter.

Halligan was arrested with his wife, Lorraine Murphy, last May after a joint investigation by the West Orange Police Department and the prosecutor's office.

Murphy, who was charged with drug possession, would have had her charges dismissed as part of Halligan's plea deal, authorities have said.

Sharon Adarlo April 20, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Please, no name calling.
sue kinsey April 21, 2012 at 02:59 AM
How is 3 years probation instead of jail time better for " the fragile state of the victim " ? Wouldn't seeing him justly punished be the better outcome? Help him heal?
Gary Englert April 21, 2012 at 03:01 AM
While people will undoubtedly have some strong opinions on this, none will be based on as much detailed information as was before the prosecutor, defense attorney and judge. Missing from all of this is, however, is any mention of his having to register as a sex offender, which might be telling either way. The loss of the liquor license (+/- $125,000?) and, as a consequence, is as large a financial penalty as you're likely to see in a criminal matter, absent full restitution being required in cases where economic damage is measurable.
Gary Englert April 21, 2012 at 03:46 AM
@ sue kinsey: That might indicate any number of things and, as it concerns a juvenile, you aren't going to get more specifics than that and all anyone is left to do is speculate. Victims generally do need to stop reliving trauma in order to heal. Regardless, since a minor is involved, much of this will remain a mystery. Absent any hard evidence to the contrary, it's probably safe to assume the punishment fit the crime. Keep in mind, too, that Mr. Halligan did spend a number of months in jail while bail was being arranged.
sue kinsey April 21, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Having to register as a sex offender should just be a" given", if you are found guilty of the crime that you admitted you committed. That should be a condition, not the sentence.Oh, that's right he was sentenced to probation.
Gary Englert April 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
@ sue kinsey: Again, the best anyone can do here is speculate as there are a myriad of unanswered questions and details the public is ever unlikely to be officially privy to. What Mr. Halligan pled guilty to were two fourth degree crimes which is about as low as one gets on the criminal totem pole without being heard in municipal court. Possession of marijuana (for example) is a fourth degree crime. Whether he is required to register as a sex offender is unclear and it may not be a requirement given the low grade offense he ultimately pled to. Look at it another way, the man spent a few months in jail, suffered an enormous economic hit, lost his livlihood and reputation for what, legally, was apparently no more consequential than possession of marijuana. All in, I still think it's safe to assume that law enforcement, the prosecutor and the court took the appropriate action with everything taken into account.
Tom McGurk April 21, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Guilty is guilty.....he's disgusting!
Long Fella April 30, 2012 at 01:53 AM
The only part of this story I'm unhappy about is probation. Parents.....Lock up your teenage boys with this dirtbag still on the loose.
ProudAmerican April 30, 2012 at 11:38 PM
He was giving drugs to children and molesting them, is this really the best plea they had to offer... The "best outcome" would be this disgusting animal being put to sleep, meanwhile our justice system gives him probation with no mentioning of him being labeled as a sex offender. This freak's lawyer must've been amazing. This makes our state look like a perfect safe haven for pedophiles.
toni May 01, 2012 at 05:39 PM
The criminals have more rights than victims.also criminals with low or no income get free or very reduced legal representation!while the victim get no representation and put thru hell by p.d. and justice system.Also being a repeat stalking offender at least 5 times and caught at home of victim breaking no contact order numerous times is not good enough for the courts .They want the victim to give names of witnesses even though prior witnesses are threatened cars and property stolen and vandalized.They put the innocent victim in a position to put family neighbors in harms way by using them as evidence.If a repeat offender is caught by police breaking a Judges direct order numerous times it should be enough for the case to end and punishment given period!Especially if in the offenders past they have commited the same crime over and over.but no, the victim has to endure punishment through the police and justice system ,the mental abuse causes victims to snap ! Its horrible situation to be in over and over and the perp get probation!Give me a break !And worse of all the police tag the victim as problem for bothering them it actually makes a person good out of their mind.Sympathy is given to the poor criminal instead of the person who did not ask for their situation it breaks my heart and faith in the justice system.No one has a consience any more!

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