NORRISTOWN — A Perkiomen man was sentenced to probation and ordered to have no contact with his neighbors, a mixed-race couple he admitted to harassing on several occasions.

Matthew Stephen Rutkowski, 38, of the 700 block of Martingale Road, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to a total of four years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of harassment and witness intimidation in connection with incidents that occurred in his neighborhood between June 2017 and August 2018.

Judge Risa Vetri Ferman, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, ordered Rutkowski to have no contact with the couple he harassed or their children. Rutkowski, who was represented by defense lawyer Scott McIntosh, also must undergo mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations and comply with all recommendations for treatment, Ferman said.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman.

Under state law, a person commits harassment when with the intent to annoy or alarm another person they communicate to our about that person any lewd or obscene language or engage in a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose.

Other charges of stalking, ethnic intimidation and disorderly conduct were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

An investigation began about 7 p.m. Aug. 6, 2018, when state police at Skippack responded to the residence of the victims for a report of harassment.

The victims, a married couple, reported they were walking their dog in their development the day before when Rutkowski drove by them, slowed down and yelled a racial epithet at them, according to the criminal complaint filed by state police Trooper Joe Gilbert. The man is white and his wife identifies as black, according to court papers.

“He informed me there were priors with Rutkowski and this behavior toward him,” Gilbert wrote in the arrest affidavit.

When police questioned Rutkowski claimed he drove by the victims but he denied any exchange of words and shouting a racial epithet. Rutkowski allegedly told police “they constantly walk past his house to annoy him,” according to the police report.

The trooper subsequently examined a state police database and found prior disturbance calls and one harassment call between 2016 and 2017 involving the victims and Rutkowski.

During alleged disturbances in October and November 2016, the male victim reported Rutkowski followed him around the neighborhood and Rutkowski accused the victim of allowing his dog to defecate on Rutkowski’s property, according to court documents. No charges were filed in those cases and the parties were advised to cease all contact with each other.

In June 2017, state police responded to a report by the victims that Rutkowski harassed them by calling them a racial epithet and a non-traffic citation was issued against Rutkowski, according to court records.

A district judge subsequently ordered Rutkowski to have no contact with the victim for six months and in May 2018 the citation was dismissed by a district judge “due to Rutkowski completing the judge’s order,” according to the criminal complaint.

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