Planet Princeton

Princeton officials deposed for police officers’ lawsuit against town and former chief

David Dudeck was the Princeton Borough chief and the first police chief of the consolidated Princeton.

Several Princeton officials and former officials have been deposed in recent weeks for a five-year-old lawsuit involving seven former Princeton Police officers and former chief David Dudeck, several sources told Planet Princeton.

The lawsuit against the town of Princeton, the Princeton Police Department, and former police chief David Dudeck was filed in 2013. Officers claimed that from 2008 until he went on a forced leave of absence in the spring of 2013, Dudeck allegedly engaged in a continuing pattern of gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, disability discrimination and sexual harassment that was abusive and created a hostile work environment. The suit alleges that the town and the department aided and abetted Dudeck’s conduct. A lawyer for Princeton’s insurance carrier is handling the case for the municipality.

Previously, the police union had agreed that it would drop all claims against Dudeck if he retired, which he did. The Mercer County Prosecutor agreed not investigate charges previously made by the union. Under the agreement, both Dudeck and the town were barred from any future litigation regarding his employment, and Dudeck was forbidden from discussing the agreement.

At the time the settlement was made, the mayor and some council  members praised the agreement, saying it would protect everyone from future legal liability and that the police department could begin a new chapter. Sharon Papp, Carol Raymond, Steven Riccitello, Daniel Chitren, Christopher Donnelly, Michael Bender, and Christopher Quaste filed a lawsuit. Officials said it turned out that individual officers were not bound by the union agreement with the town regarding the Dudeck settlement.

The plaintiffs asked for a trial by jury in the original court filing and are seeking compensation from the town for emotional distress, pain and suffering, lost promotions, employment, wages, benefits, punitive damages and attorney fees. The case could be settled out of court.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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