Luke Gatti, the ex-University of Connecticut student who experienced a cafeteria “meltdown’ over a craving for bacon jalapeño mac and cheese that led to his arrest in October and infamy on social media, has been granted a form of pretrial probation.
Gatti received an early Christmas present on Monday when a Connecticut Superior Court judge granted his application for accelerated rehabilitation, which is a special diversion program for first-time offenders without there being a finding in the case. If the 19-year-old stays out of trouble during the AR period, the case will be erased from the court record entirely.
“I got nothing to defend. I am entirely ashamed of my actions, and that’s pretty much it,” Gatti told the judge on Monday, NBC Connecticut reported.
Gatti faced charges of breach of peace and criminal trespass, according to the Manchester Journal Inquirer, prompting the application for AR which was filed in a November 23 court appearance.
“While on probation, Gatti must continue intensive substance abuse treatment, not use alcohol or illegal drugs and subject himself to random testing, and perform 100 hours of community service,” the Hartford Courant reported.
The original cell phone video of the October 4 confrontation between the drunk student apparently jonesing for mac and cheese and an even-tempered, patient food court manager in the crowded student union on the Storrs campus went viral.
With his mac and cheese demands unmet, the NSFW footage showed the student berating and cursing out the manager with several F-bombs, pushing him several times (before he was taken to the ground by another worker), and at the end of the encounter spitting in the manager’s face as a campus cop cuffed him and hustled him out of the venue.
About a week after the UConn incident, Gatti uploaded a 2-1/2 minute apology to YouTube about his mac and cheese rant. In the clip, he apologized to the cafeteria staff and particularly the manager, who Gatti admitted was just doing his job. Gatti also acknowledged that during the mac and cheese conflict, he was drunk, acting like an “a**hole,” and that he was ashamed of himself. The incident was for him a serious wake-up call to address some problems, he conceded. Gatti also recommended that those apparent jokesters sending him mac and cheese care packages should donate the pasta to their local food pantry instead.
In a letter to the UConn school newspaper, the former manager of the Union Street Market was not particularly moved by the apology video following the incident that occurred on his last night on the job. David Robinson, who has since moved to South America with his family, chided Gatti for not reaching out to him directly.
Gatti subsequently jumped on a plane and flew to Ecuador to spend five days with Robinson to mend fences. This effort impressed the judge who noted that “Gatti was lucky his family has the resources to make such a trip possible,” the Courant reported.
The prosecutor handling the case opposed Gatti’s accelerated rehabilitation motion in part because the student was arrested twice in Massachusetts for similar behavior and that in the UConn case, he was noncompliant in the patrol car and in the booking area. The judge determined, however, that “accelerated rehabilitation was appropriate for Gatti because the legislature intended it to be made available, especially, to young people.”
Gatti apparently plans to continue his education at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island. In November, UConn officials confirmed that he was no longer as a student there but wouldn’t say whether he left voluntarily or was expelled.
[image via YouTube]