Scotch Plains man pleads guilty to attack in Asbury Park

Garden State Equality offices in Asbury Park
Garden State Equality offices in Asbury Park, NJ

Morris James May of Scotch Plains, NJ has plead guilty and been sentenced in Asbury Park for a pepper-spray attack on a transgender person in September. The attack occurred a day before an anti-hate rally was planned.

May plead guilty to simple assault and received a 90-day suspended jail sentence on November 30, 2017. He will have to serve 100 hours of community service, undergo a mental health evaluation and pay a $250 fine. The agreement was reached with prosecutor James N. Butler. The prosecutor said it was a bad situation.

Allison Kolarik, 34, said she was pepper-sprayed by May on the evening of September 3, 2017. She was trying to engage him in a conversation outside Gift, an Ocean Avenue shop in Asbury Park. Anti-hate volunteers and activists were gathered outside the shop preparing for the next days “Stand Against Hate’’ rally. The rally was planned in response to violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kolarik said May was harassing many of the volunteers making signs for the rally. He then let loose with the pepper spray on Kolarik. She said May was heard saying, “I hate liberals. I hate you people. You’re trying to take away our rights,” according to an Asbury Park Press story.

As May was waiting for his trial to begin, a police officer in the court warned him repeatedly to put his cellphone away. He was then removed from the courtroom briefly by officers.

“More than anything, I’m glad that he’ll have to receive the mental health evaluation,” Kolarik said. Under the terms of the plea deal May is also barred from having any contact with Kolarik.

Attorney, Mark Gertner of South Orange, and his client, left the courtroom after the plea was entered by May without making any further comments.