Thomas Drago was arraigned before District Judge Jackie Taschner Wednesday afternoon on one felony charge of wiretapping for his alleged conduct within the Easton Area School District offices on March 30, 2012.
"It was an illegal wiretap," the judge said. "You used electronic communications on a meeting of 11 people without consent."
According to a criminal complaint, Drago, 54, of Bushkill Township, used his mobile iPhone to audio tape an "Act 93" meeting at about 4 p.m. March 30, 2012.
The event was a "meet and discuss" session involving certain employees of the Easton Area School District regarding the negotiation of salaries, budgets and other concerns for Act 93 employees, court records state.
Drago said that the audio file was downloaded from his iPhone to his work computer, ultimately transferring it to his iTunes account, the affidavit states.
Drago stated that he intentionally concealed his iPhone in his pocket, knowing it was wrong to audio tape the meeting without consent, court records state.
Drago is facing a third-degree felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Drago, wearing a dark blue suit, appeared to lose his composure when the judge asked him when his last date of employment was with the school district. That was Oct. 24, 2012, Drago stated.
Taschner scheduled a tentative preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. Sept. 11.
Forks Police Det. Philomena Kelly said that she is working with Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli on the case.
Taschner gave Drago $50,000 unsecured bail and said he must be fingerprinted.
"You are to remain crime free," the judge warned Drago. "Otherwise it would be a violation of your bail and you could go to prison."
Kelly said the investigation is ongoing.
Drago came to work for the district in January 2002. Prior to that, he worked for 20 years for the Phillipsburg School District.
The school board voted to accept Drago's resignation last Dec. 10. According to the agenda from that meeting, his last day was Jan. 31, the same day police sought the search warrant.