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.