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Man Spit in Prison Guard's Eye, Police Say

Brian Mulrooney, in Northampton County Prison for car theft charges, is now charged with harassment.

A man who was arrested for car theft at an Easton Alcoholics Anonymous meeting last month is now being charged with spitting in a prison guard's eye.

Brian Michael Mulrooney, 23, of Phillipsburg, is charged with aggravated harassment, a level-three felony.

The corrections officer, according to court records, is Gregory Knauss. He received treatment for “exposure to bodily fluids” at Healthworks in Bethlehem about an hour after the Jan. 28 incident, the records say.

Christopher G. Naugle, an investigator for the county Department of Corrections, said Wednesday he cannot comment on the case.

But Arnold Matos, the county's director of corrections, said Thursday that Mulrooney has been "problematic. He's been acting up."

Naugle filed a criminal complaint against Mulrooney, who was arraigned Tuesday by on-duty District Judge Patricia Romig-Passaro of Bethlehem and returned to county prison on $50,000 bail.

Naugle’s complaint says that Knauss came to him around 2:15pm Jan. 28 and said Mulrooney had spit in his face.

Naugle then watched surveillance video that shows Knauss standing directly in front of cell H-8 when Mulrooney “spit through the bars” into Knauss’ face.

Knauss told Naugle in an interview the next day that Knauss was serving the inmate a “formal misconduct” when the spitting occurred.

Matos explained that "formal misconduct" is part of a process in which an inmate is informed that he/she may have committed an infraction of prison rules.

He said Knauss likely was trying to get the inmate's signature as part of the process. The next step would have been a hearing before the prison's disciplinary hearing board, Matos said.

Mulrooney landed in county prison after police entered an AA meeting at an Easton church the morning of Jan. 19, a Saturday. Police suspected that Mulrooney had a stolen car.

The suspect resisted arrest and at one point head-butted a police officer in the back of his head, court records say.

Police spotted the stolen Chevrolet Lumina with New Jersey license plates on the unit block of N. 12th Street and entered the church at 1151 Northampton St. When an officer tried to electronically fingerprint Mulrooney, he attemped to escape, forcing the officer to physically restrain him.

It was during the restraining process that Mulrooney head-butted another officer, the records say.

Mulrooney, of 584 Roseberry St., was charged with receiving stolen property, aggravated assault and resisting arrest, and was sent to prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.

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