NORRISTOWN — A former Franconia Township man must serve probation and pay a fine in connection with allegations he harassed a township family, under a plea agreement in which the most serious charges of stalking and simple assault were dismissed against him.
Michael J. Brown Jr., 37, formerly of the 300 block of Allentown Road, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Thursday to 90 days of probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine after he pleaded no contest to summary charges of harassment and disorderly conduct in connection with alleged incidents that occurred between July and November 2018 in Franconia and Lower Salford.
A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission that prosecutors could prove the allegations at a trial.
Summary charges are similar to traffic citations.
Originally, Brown was charged with more than 100 misdemeanor offenses, including stalking and simple assault, but all of those charges were dismissed by prosecutors under the plea agreement approved by Judge William R. Carpenter.
“Our office did an extensive review of the evidence in the case and felt that this was a fair and appropriate resolution for both sides,” said Assistant District Attorney Tanner C. Beck.
Brown was supported in court by several relatives as he addressed the charges.
“The commonwealth’s reduction of the charges to three citations is a clear and accurate reflection of the relative insignificance of my client’s alleged conduct,” Defense lawyer William DeNardo said after the brief hearing. “I commend the DA’s office for taking control of this ‘runaway train’ out of Franconia.
“My client has not admitted or pleaded guilty because he is not guilty of breaking these laws. His plea of no contest today is a reflection of his desire to move forward with his life, to undo the damage to his reputation and to finally put an end to this madness,” DeNardo added.
The judge ordered Brown to have no contact with the three members of a Franconia family who claimed they were harassed by Brown.
“Does he understand what happens if he violates probation?” Carpenter inquired, to which Brown replied, “Yes.”
If Brown violates probation he could face up to 90 days in jail, according to testimony.
“The last year has been extremely difficult for my client and his family,” DeNardo said. “Over the course of this past year, my client has been dragged through the mud in social media posts, has moved out of his home and relocated his family and has had to maintain his liberty by posting cash bail.”
Franconia police said an investigation began in July 2018 when a township family filed a report alleging Brown harassed family members after a dispute erupted between the families. Police alleged home surveillance video depicted Brown driving past the family’s home multiple times.
The victims also claimed Brown “performed intimidating acts,” toward them during Souderton Braves football practices. Brown also was accused of parking in a neighboring driveway to watch the victim family’s home through binoculars, according to a criminal complaint, filed by Franconia Detective George H. Moyer III.
In November, a woman, who is a friend of the family Brown was accused of harassing, reported to Lower Salford police that Brown drove his vehicle toward her vehicle and stopped inches from hitting it while there were seven children in the vehicle in the parking lot of the Montgomery County Sports Performance Center on Christopher Lane, according to the criminal complaint filed by Lower Salford Police Corporal Jason Alderfer.
The woman told police she was “terrified” by the incident. The woman told police she believed Brown was trying to intimidate her because of the support she gave to the family that alleged harassment by Brown.