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Belleville Superintendent Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Joseph Picardo named in a complaint in Bergen County by former Belleville school employee Michael M. Myers.

The Belleville Schools Superintendent has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former male employee and has been placed on a paid leave of absence.

Calls to the Belleville Board of Education confirmed Superintendent Joseph Picardo is on leave, but calls to Picardo were not returned Thursday or Friday.

A former male emloyee filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court accusing Picardo of "a series of sexual abuses suffered during his employment," according to Gerald Saluti, lawyer for the former employee. The story was reported here by NorthJersey.com

In a statement to Patch from his lawyer, the employee Michael M. Myers said “I had to turn to the court for help. I wasn’t going to remain a victim.” Saluti said Myers is a father and a Vietnam veteran, and that Myers said the abuse “was the most trying experience of my life."

A confidential source said that Picardo kept a “bad boy” file he kept in his office to intimidate Myers from speaking out about the abuse, according to Saluti.

Saluti said Myers “was routinely pressured into engaging in homosexual acts with his superior, Superintendent Joseph Picardo, over the course of his employment.”

Myers served as director of curriculum from August 2010 to December 2011.

Belleville School Board Attorney Alfonse DeMeo said Friday, “As a rule, the Belleville School District does not comment on pending litigation.

School Board trustee Joseph Longo said that he, and the rest of the board were advised to not comment by legal counsel.

Meyers has retired from the district.

Picardo was named Belleville superintendent in April 2010 after being assistant superintendent in New Milford for eight years.

Meyers claims he worked in the Belleville district from August 2010 until December 2011, and that Picardo "repeatedly attempted to initiate and continue a sexual relationship with plaintiff against plaintiff's wishes."

He seeks punitive damages for harassment, hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the complaint filed on Aug. 29.

Jeff Mattingly September 23, 2012 at 07:36 PM
It is extremely unlikely that Mr. Meyers would make these alligations without some sort of proof, he would be ruined and broke in the final verdict. If they are proved to be true, Mr. Picardo will never work again as it should be, either way the taxpayers will pay dearly but more importantly the children and town will suffer once more as everyone is left to wonder who is accountable for the educational process and security of our employees? The BOE can shield themselves of having to comment but what process of vetting yielded Picardo?
Belleville Sentinel September 23, 2012 at 09:06 PM
And let's hope that Richard Yanuzzi's next selections for BOE superintendent and curriculum developer will be more fully vetted.
Belleville Sentinel September 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM
It will be obviously labelled as hear-say on my part, but I have been repeatedly told by individuals who are very well-connected with internal workings of the BBOE that in order to secure employment with this entity, there is an effective buy-in (of anywhere from $3K to $7K). Furthermore, once employed, there is an endless loyalty test compelling BOE employees to continuously work on the behalf of entrenched BOE members for their re-election campaigns and those who don't "kiss the ring" are either terminated, or if tenured, find themselves demoted with less than desirable teaching responsibilities. With any luck, Mr. Meyer's lawsuit will usher in a wave of State investigations fully disclosing the real operation of the BBOE.
Nelson Barrera October 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Here we are a few weeks later, double salary continues to be paid, business as usual with tax payers burden - NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
E. cruz January 16, 2013 at 02:17 PM
We should just expose everyone in political office in Belleville for using Belleville tax payers $ to makeup these extremely high salaries to give people who arent quallified to do the job and are making up job positions to give to family members or even worse giving jobs to people they owe favors to. No one seems to care about the fact that kids are being targeted and killed and that we need the money to pay for all around security in the schools to keep our children safe in schools. It makes me sick to know that I am at work and that my child is sitting in her classroom thinking that her school might be next and where she should hide if someone came in shooting at her class. These are the things that matter . The superintendents of Belleville schools should be looking for ways to use the budget to secure our schools so our kids dont have to worry about these things and be able to play with classmates and eat lunches without watching their backs. Use the tax payers money the way it was intended to be used which was to supply the schools with the proper staff and materials to help our children develope and feel safe doing it.

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