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Probation for Newberry Twp. man who lost cool, assaulted grandson

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Gary Manoni

A Newberry Township man has avoided prison for grabbing the throat of his 6-year-old grandson and carrying him outside by the neck.

Gary Manoni, 67, of Railroad Street, pleaded guilty Feb. 24 in York County Court to misdemeanor simple assault and summary harassment, according to court records.

In exchange for his plea, charges of strangulation and child endangerment were dismissed, records state.

He was sentenced to five years' probation and ordered to complete batterer's intervention counseling.

Manoni also was ordered to have no contact whatsoever with his grandson by marriage — and no unsupervised contact with any minors except for his other grandchildren, according to deputy prosecutor Deirdre Sullivan.

The simple assault plea was for grabbing his grandson's neck, and the harassment plea was for a confrontation with his wife, Sullivan said.

Manoni is a good man who loves his family very much, according to defense attorney T.L. Kearney.

"Gary had a momentary lapse of judgment driven by a human emotion in a stressful situation," Kearney told The York Dispatch. "He has worked hard to address and treat that lapse in judgment and has done so very effectively."

Learned from mistake: Manoni dedicated himself to learning from his mistake, according to his attorney, who said he believes that's part of the reason his client had charges reduced and received a probationary sentence.

Sullivan agreed Manoni's actions after the crime were taken into consideration when his plea agreement was crafted. Also considered was the fact that he had no prior record, she said.

"He was proactive in getting into treatment and counseling, and went above and beyond what we asked him to do," Sullivan said.

She said her office wanted Manoni to have a lengthy probationary period "so there is monitoring in place" and because defendants who violate probation know they can be sent to prison.

The prosecutor called the probationary term an additional incentive for Manoni to maintain his composure and find more positive ways to deal with stress.

"Obviously if someone has lost control of themselves on one occasion, we have a concern it could happen again," Sullivan said. "But given the fact that he's engaged in counseling and that he's done everything he really could do to take responsibility and improve himself, I suspect he will probably do well."

The background: Newberry Township Police officers were called to the Manoni home about 8:50 p.m. June 6 after Manoni and his wife argued over how their vehicles were parked, prompting him to take her keys and move her vehicle, police said.

After parking the car in a different spot, Gary Manoni threw his wife's keys into their yard and the two kept arguing, according to police.

As his grandparents argued, the 6-year-old boy found his grandmother's keys and returned them to her, which infuriated Manoni, police said.

Linda Manoni said that after her husband threw her keys outside in their yard, her grandson actually retrieved her husband's set of keys from inside the home and gave them to her.

Carried by the neck? Gary Manoni used both hands to grab the boy by his neck, then carried him that way through the dining room and onto the front porch, according to court documents.

He left his grandson on the porch and told the boy he needed to go home, then went back inside, where he grabbed his wife by her arms, police said.

The two struggled and fell to the ground, with Linda Manoni hitting her head, according to police. She said her husband never struck her. 

The boy suffered bruises on his neck and clavicle, according to police, and Linda Manoni suffered two bumps on her forehead along with abrasions, a small scratch on her knee and head pain.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.