According to court documents obtained by The Press, Mr. Lucera had admitted to police at the time of the incident that he had “kicked [the door] to get inside since the door was locked.” The door was identified as a side door at the front of the house, and it, along with a wooden door frame, had been damaged in an amount exceeding $250, a sworn police statement said.
It is unclear, however, whether Mr. Lucera entered the house before, after or during the argument with his fiancee, who is identified in the documents as his “estranged girlfriend.”
Additionally, a sworn statement signed by the woman states that during the argument, Mr. Lucera grabbed her face “and did spit on her while engaged in an argument with her, and to her annoyance and alarm.”
The woman could not be reached for comment.
Tuckahoe Superintendent Dean Lucera was arrested late last month on a felony charge of criminal mischief, but his lawyer said he expects the charge to be lifted, as no criminal activity took place.
Mr. Lucera, 52, of Manorville was arrested by Southampton Town Police on November 21 after an argument that took place at his fiancee’s home on Tanners Neck Lane in Westhampton. He was charged with third-degree criminal mischief, a felony, as well as second-degree harassment, a violation, but Town Police would not provide any additional information at the time because the arrest involved a domestic dispute.
On Tuesday, Town Police Lieutenant Susan Ralph said the department could not comment on the case.
On Tuesday Mr. Lucera referred to his lawyer, Tor Jacob Worsoe Jr. of Holtsville, for comment, but assured that no criminal activity took place during the personal matter. “It will resolve itself expeditiously,” he said.
Mr. Worsoe explained that Mr. Lucera, who stays at his fiancee’s Westhampton home five days a week, had been locked out of the house and entered it through a side door to retrieve his keys. The hinges of the door, however, had been broken, which is why Mr. Lucera was charged with the criminal mischief offense. A person is charged with third-degree criminal mischief when the cost to repair damage to another person’s property exceeds more than $250, according to New York State penal law.
Mr. Worsoe said that particular incident “was way overblown. [The door] was repaired. I don’t think it cost his significant other anything,” he said.
“He didn’t break in there. He basically went in the home he was living in to retrieve a set of keys,” he added about his client.
As for the second-degree harassment charge, the attorney said that Mr. Lucera and his fiancee did have an argument, but added that there was no physical violence.
“She’s very cooperative. She’s not looking to have him hurt at all,” Mr. Worsoe said, adding that once the fiancee speaks to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, he believes the charge will be lifted. “She understands that things got out of hand … and now it’s unfortunately in the public eye. I’m pretty confident that it will resolve itself.”
Mr. Lucera, the former district superintendent of the Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services, was hired to serve as Tuckahoe’s superintendent in September and began his position in mid-October. Tuckahoe school officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the arrest.
Mr. Worsoe stressed, though, that his client has not had any prior arrests, or even parking tickets, and is a good fit for his job as superintendent.
“He’s a good guy. He’s excellent for his position,” the attorney said. “He’s certainly an asset to the community and someone who does his job very, very well. The bottom line is, it will resolve itself in a favorable fashion.”