Bernardsville NJ Child Abuse Defense Lawyer

The Pingry School, a college prepartory day school in Bernards Township NJ, recently released an investigative report finding that a former teacher may have sexually abused at least 27 boys during the mid-1970s. According to the report, Thad “Ted” Alton targeted preteen boys in his class at the Pingry School and in his Boy Scout troop from 1972 to 1978. Sadly, the victims allege unrelenting abuse, with some victims claiming that they were sexually assaulted 25 to 100 times. In an open letter to the Pingry community, chair of the board of trustees Jeffrey Edwards and headmaster Nathaniel Conrad stated that they are “devastated by these findings and the reality that these abuses were, for decades, weighing on the survivors.” Moreover, the Pingry officials lamented the lack of action by school administrators to stop the abuse.

Under New Jersey’s child abuse and neglect laws set forth in N.J.S.A 9:6-8.21 et. seq., child abuse takes many forms. Additionally, it is not just biological parents who are subjected to Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) investigations because Title 9 sets forth a broad definition of “parent or guardian.” Specifically, “parent or guardian” is defined as any natural parent, adoptive parent, resource family parent, stepparent, paramour of a parent, or any person, who has assumed responsibility for the care, custody, or control of a child or upon whom there is a legal duty for such care. “Parent or guardian” includes a teacher, employee, or volunteer, whether compensated or uncompensated, of an institution who is responsible for the child’s welfare and any other staff person of an institution regardless of whether the person is responsible for the care or supervision of the child.

As for the definition of child abuse or neglect in New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c) sets forth that an “abused or neglected child” is a child who is less than 18 years of age and whose parent or guardian (1) inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which causes or creates a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (2) creates or allows to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; (3) commits or allows to be committed an act of sexual abuse against the child; (4) fails to exercise a minimum degree of care for a child whose physical, mental, or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired; (5) willfully abandons their child; or (6) uses excessive physical restraint against the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself, others, or property.

In all cases of alleged child abuse and neglect that are investigated by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, the totality of the circumstances will be evaluated to determine whether a child was abused or neglected. Moreover, if you are accused of child abuse, DCP&P may file a complaint against you in the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Division and seek to remove the child from your custody, care, and supervision.

If you are accused of child abuse or neglect and DCP&P is knocking on your door to conduct an investigation, it is important to consult with an experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorney at the Tormey Law Firm. Our skilled attorneys are familiar with New Jersey’s child abuse and neglect laws and will help you during the investigation.