School Superintendent Demanded Sex, Man Claims

     HACKENSACK, N.J. (CN) – A former school employee claims in court that the school superintendent forced him to have oral sex with him to keep his job.
     Michael J. Meyers sued the Belleville Board of Education and School Superintendent Joseph Picardo, in Bergen County Court.
     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.” (8)
     He claims that “Picardo maintained a position that plaintiff’s submission to sexual contact was a condition of plaintiff employment.” He claims the superintendent did this even though he “made clear to defendant Picardo on numerous occasions that he did not want to have an intimate relationship with him and the defendant Picardo’s attention was unwelcome.”
     Meyers claims says Picardo told him that his “number one job responsibility is to make him happy.”
     When Meyers “protested that this was not included in his job description, defendant Picardo replied, ‘Don’t play with me. You really don’t know me that well. I’m really not a nice person,'” according to the complaint.
     Meyers claims that in October 2010, Picardo invited him out to dinner, after which “Picardo informed (him) that they had a reservation at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Clifton.” Meyers claims that when he bluntly refused to go to the hotel, Picardo “stopped the car, pulled off the road and attempted to forcibly kiss (him) and grabbed (his) tie and tried to untie it, and attempted to unbutton plaintiff’s pants.”
     The complaint continues: “Defendant Picardo made such intense threats about plaintiff being terminated from his position that plaintiff went to the Howard Johnson Hotel and engaged in oral sex with defendant Picardo.”
     He claims that Picardo tried it again in November 2010 and in April 2011, but that he refused the advances both times and “protested that he was married, but Picardo continued his advances.”
     He also claims that in January 2011 while he was staying at Picardo’s home during a technology conference in Atlantic City, Picardo “insisted” that he stay overnight at his house and attempted to seduce him. He claims “Picardo asked, ‘Do you want to fool around?’ Plaintiff declined and locked himself in the guest bedroom for the remainder of the night.”
     After this incident, Meyers claims, Picardo threatened to fire a friend of Meyers, but “promised plaintiff that he would not terminate (the woman’s) employment on the condition that plaintiff allow defendant to perform oral sex on him.”
     Meyers says he let Picardo give him a blow job, and the superintendent “did not terminate (the woman’s) employments at that time.
     Meyers claims says that Picardo told the woman Cardillo that he, Meyers, is gay, and told him “that he was informing her of plaintiff’s sexual orientation in case she ever needed to use it against him.”
     Meyers Picardo nudged him in the scrotum during a dinner in front of co-workers and later that night “grabbed a steak knife and sliced the top of plaintiff’s hand, causing a laceration.”
     And he claims that Picardo “spat in his face” after another rejection.
     Meyers claims Picardo became so abusive that he had no choice but to turn in his retirement papers.
     But the hostility didn’t end there, Meyers says. He claims that after submitting the papers, Picardo “begged him not to retire” because it would damage Picardo’s reputation. After he refused, Meyers says, the next day Picardo threw a tissue box at him during a meeting and said, “‘There, now you have something to sue me for.'”
     After this, Meyers says, he used his sick time to avoid going to and retired “at the cost of higher lifetime pension benefits.”
     He seeks punitive damages for harassment, hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     He is represented by Gerald Saluti, of Newark.

%d bloggers like this: