Bill Will Help School Districts Return to Local Control

TRENTON - Under a measure (A-657) passed by the Assembly Education Committee, school districts under State intervention would be returned to local control if the district satisfies 80 percent or more of the required NJ Quality Single Accountability Continuum Standards (QSAC) in an area of district effectiveness.

The bill’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris), Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex), Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic) released the following joint statement:

“Once a school district is taken over by the State, it’s a very complicated process to return to local control. Districts must show significant improvement in areas evaluated by QSAC, including operations, personnel, governance, instruction and fiscal management. It’s no small feat, and often takes years - in the cases of Newark, Paterson and Jersey City, decades - to emerge from State control and regain authority to make decisions for their students and schools. Each of these districts saw very little improvement, if any.

“It’s incredibly frustrating for students, parents and educators to see their districts taken over indefinitely, particularly when a district makes tremendous strides and may no longer need intervention. This bill will clearly outline accessible standards for State-controlled districts to meet in order to take back local control. It likely wouldn’t take years of turmoil before a district could show it could operate well on its own.

“Schools districts like Paterson, Jersey City and Camden have earned the right to local control after many years of State takeover. At the end of the day, once a school district proves it can operate efficiently and deliver quality education, we want it to be in the hands of the community it serves.”


NEWARK - Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose reports the arrest of Romane Errol, Sr., 26, of Newark, in the hit and run of a 2-year-old girl on May 12.

Shortly before 9:45 a.m., police responded to the corner of 18th Avenue and Brookdale Avenue and located the injured child, who was conscious. She was transported to University Hospital for treatment. The victim remains in critical condition with rib fractures, double collapsed lung and lung lacerations. 

Police identified Errol as a suspect, and he faces charges of causing serious bodily injury and operating a motor vehicle without a valid license. He was also driving with a suspended and expired license.

These charges are merely accusations. The suspect is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


NEWARK - On April 16, 2019, an international traveler from Israel who has been confirmed to have had measles - a highly contagious disease - arrived in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport from Tel Aviv. The individual was infectious on that day and may have exposed others to measles. If you were in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport on April 16 between 4 and 8 a.m., you may have been exposed to measles and, if infected, could develop symptoms as late as May 7.

New Jersey residents identified as potentially exposed on the ill individual’s flights will be notified by their local health department.

Anyone who suspects an exposure is urged to call a health care provider before going to a medical office or emergency department. Special arrangements can be made for evaluation while also protecting other patients and medical staff from possible infection.

Measles symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. It can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Measles infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or a low-birth-weight baby. Measles is easily spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. People can also get sick when they come in contact with mucus or saliva from an infected person.

Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has not had measles is at risk if they are exposed. "Two doses of measles vaccine is more than 99 percent effective in preventing measles,” said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist.

“We urge everyone to check to make sure they and their family members are up-to-date on measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine and all other age-appropriate immunizations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it protects others around you who are too young to get the vaccine or can’t receive it for medical reasons. If you’re planning an international trip, the World Health Organization recommends that adults or adolescents unsure of their immune status get a dose of measles vaccine before traveling,” Dr. Tan added.

A document with information on what to do if you’ve been exposed to measles is available on our website.

For more information about measles, contact your health care provider, or visit the New Jersey Department of Health measles website.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web site has additional information at


By Walter Elliott

NEWARK - Various legal firms in and around the "Local Talk News" area have been posting names and details of the contents of Scouting's Ineligible Volunteer File's "Perversion File" folder since their April 23 release.

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Greg Gianforcaro, for example, came from their respective Minneapolis and Phillipsburg practices to hold a press conference here at the Courtyard by Marriott downtown to reveal some of the 7,819 scout leaders' names nationwide who are in Scouting's IV Perversion File.

Those Cub Pack, Scout Troop and/or Explorer Post leaders, according to the file's contents, sexually abused 12,254 children nationwide 1944-2016.

Those 7,819 leaders - whom Scouting revoked registration or refused renewal - included 52 leaders from 68 packs, troops, posts and/or district offices among 53 New Jersey towns.

Nine of those leaders served 11 packs, troops or posts in East Orange, Maplewood, Newark and/or Nutley.

Reading the file's documents, correspondence and newspaper clippings may trigger a reader's recollections - which is the reason for Anderson and Gianforcaro's Tuesday conference.

They and other legal firms who have posted the material on their websites are looking for other victims of other Scouting leaders - on or not on the list - to come forward.

The lawyers said they were aware of Scouting's list since 2012.

The Boy Scouts of America, founded Feb. 8, 1910, has kept an internal IV list since 1920. That list included the name of those people who were accused and/or convicted of financial, leadership, criminal, theft, moral and/or perversion offenses.

The BSA kept that list while headquartered in East Brunswick and in its present Irving, Texas, location. A federal court order has prompted its release.

The file's release and attorneys' posting comes after the state relaxed a statute of limitation on reporting sexual assault or abuse in March. The amendment, which Gov. Phil Murphy signed, allows sex crime victims to sue individuals and/or institutions in civil court until either they reached 55 years old or up to seven years after "making a discovery" linking the abuse to emotional or psychological injury.

The file's publication may be similar to the Feb. 19 release by various Roman Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in method and objective. Both institutions are declaring "Here's who we have on file - and they will never harm anyone again."

"We believe victims, we support them and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice," said Scouting in an April 22 apology letter. "Nothing's more important that the safety and protection of children in Scouting. We're outraged that there have been times where individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children."

The attorneys' April 23 response: Scouting has not done enough.

"The minimize, they deny and sometimes they blame others," said Anderson in the late lunch hour conference. "Our hope is that kids are protected better, that survivors are given a voice and that those who are responsible are held accountable for their actions."

Survivor advocates Mark Crawford and Janet Warren flanked Anderson and Gianforcaro that Tuesday afternoon. Crawford talked about his abuse while growing up in Bayonne. Warren, who was victimized in Brooklyn, testified for Anderson's client about abuse in a Minneapolis theater.

Anderson told "Local Talk" that there may be more victims from adjacent towns, given that Scouting has loosened its "hometown" pack, troop and post membership requirement. Some of the said groups, over the years, may have moved, merged or disbanded.

The pack, troop and post's sponsors were advised of the allegations, suspensions and/or convictions somewhere in the reporting process. Some sponsors include churches who also hosted meetings and activities.

The following accounts are from Scouting's files. "Local Talk" knows of one named abuser having died in 2000 but not the status of the other local eight. Nor does "Local Talk" know if all of the file's cases were brought to trial.

The deceased name belongs to Fr. Richard M. Galdon, whose Funeral Mass was held July 2, 2000 in Bayonne's St. Vincent de Paul Church. He died while at a church-approved Jemez Springs, N.M. treatment facility.

Galdon was ordained here in 1959 and served our Lady of Good Counsel for 27 years before resigning in 1986. He resigned to start serving a 25-year prison term in the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel Oct. 28, 1987.

Galdon, on March 4, 1987, plead guilty to sexual assault of one boy and sexual contact of two others. He confessed that he engaged in relations while playing strip card games or while watching television 1980-83.

The ex-priest also confessed to having assaulted children for 17 years. Ten of those years was while as chaplain for Troops 18 and 35. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office dropped 12 other charges he was indicted on in exchange for the plea.

A contemporary newspaper report said that Galdon was a friend of Arnold Edward Codispoti.

Codispoti, 45, was a 19-year Essex County Police sergeant who was also scoutmaster for Cedar Grove Troop 65, adviser for Newark's Essex County Government Services Explorer Post 654 and was on the BSA Essex Council's Executive Board in Orange or Newark. The Vietnam War veteran was once named "Policeman of the Year" for his Scouting work, including running the Essex Council's Order of the Arrow program.

Codispoti was arrested in the county police headquarters and held on $1 million bail Dec. 20, 1984. A county grand jury indicted him on 45 counts of sexual assault and child endangerment. He pleaded guilty to 29 of those counts for a 25 year sentence in Avenel in February 1986.

Codispoti confessed to abusing eight different boys, 11-to-15-years-old, 1981-83. He would take them to his home in Cedar Grove, the Essex County Police Academy and/or on campouts in Roseland or Oakland. Codispoti served alcohol before abusing them.

Pasquale Joseph Bartiromo was arrested by Newark police on two charges of child molestation July 31, 1974. He had been an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 62 here 1981-82.

The same FBI charge record sheet found in his BSA IV file included arrests for possessing stolen property, arson and making a false bomb threat in Newark or Harrison in the 1960s. He served four months in Caldwell's Essex County Jail on the possession charge in 1969.

The Essex Council refused Bartiromo's renewal applications in 1986.

Peter Kistner was accused by a member of Robert Treat Cub Pack 529 of molesting him Feb. 13, 1991.

The boy said that Kistner had him sit on his lap to help steer the car on their way home to his home in Irvington. He said that the assistant cubmaster slid beneath him while driving.

An internal Essex Council investigation resulted in Kistner's "removing based on our right to uphold the privilege of membership" Feb. 28, 1991.

Scouting and county prosecutors handled the cases of Nutley's Michael J. Abdiwan and John Sileo simultaneously. Abdiwan, 19, an Eagle Scout and Troop 147's assistant scoutmaster and Sileo, 22, Pack 146 Cubmaster and Troop 146 assistant scoutmaster, were arrested Nov. 16, 1984.

A search of Sileo's apartment yielded "three rifles and two handguns-legally purchased." Nutley police also netted handcuffs, chains, whips, capes, "sexually-oriented material, plastic skull candle holders, a dog collar, a satanic bible and the book, 'The Mark of Lucifer.' "

Prosecutors, based on several victims' testimonies, accused Sileo and Abdiwan of luring 35 local boys and girls, 15-to-17-years-old, with drugs and alcohol to the former's place 1981-83. They would whip, beat and burn their victims and make them act like dogs.

One girl testified at "I realized we were becoming a cult." 

Three of the victims were Abdiwan and Sileo's scouts.

BSA's Tamarak Council in Lyndhurst had long suspended the duo when a grand jury indicted each of them June 1, 1984 on two counts of sexual assault plus child endangerment. Abdiwan's Eagle Scout award would be deleted from Scouting's records.

Abdiwan, who pleaded guilty June 7, 1984 to two sex abuse counts, was placed on probation. Sileo, who pleaded to two sex assault charges, served an up to 10-year prison term.

East Orange resident Alexander John Gooding's fall from Troop 6's grace began when a scout called the assistant scoutmaster "a queer" during a troop "rap" session at East Orange's Church at the Crossroads in May 1972.

The boy, on June 7, 1972, told other Troop 6 and church leadership plus Orange City Commissioner Frank Hayes that Gooding had him share a sleeping back with him naked during an earlier campout.

BSA's South Mountain Council, then of Orange, promptly revoked Gooding's Scouting registration and placed him in their IV file. Troop 6 was registered in Orange and was sponsored by Church of the Crossroads.

A second East Orange man, Paul Kenneth Stokes, had his membership with Essex Council's Troop 1008 put on 1978-79 probation when a July 29, 1967 incident at Camp Ken-Etiwa-Peo was retrieved from the IV file.

A 13-year-old scout told other Troop 114 leadership that Provisional Scoutmaster Stokes had masturbated him under his shorts the night before. Stokes, who initially denied the account, let the camp voluntarily. His 1967-68 registration was revoked.

The Essex Council had also pulled Maplewood Troop 2 assistant scoutmaster Steven Michael Ripley's card June 7, 1984 just after he was indicted on a count each of sexual assault and sexual contact.

Ripley, according to court and BSA records, was accused of touching a 16-year-old boy's genitals sometime between Jan. 1 and May 31, 1983. He would plead guilty to the first count May 8, 1985, serve 364 days in the county jail and four years' work release probation.


WASHINGTON - After months of turmoil, the nation will not face another imminent government shutdown, but rather another imminent issue between Democrats and Republicans.

On Feb. 15, President Donald Trump announced that he was declaring a National Emergency over a “crime epidemic at the border” to access a potential $8 billion for his campaign-promised “border wall.” The declaration comes after a federal budget was agreed upon, allocating about $1.4 billion for the wall, but not the $5.7 billion he requested.

By making the declaration, Trump can use Executive Authority to move around federal monies allocated to other resources, such as Treasury forfeiture funds and the Department of Defense.

While addressing the media in the White House Rose Garden, Trump acknowledged that he will likely face legal action, and that litigation could take years before a resolution is reached. Also, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives could draft its own legislation to nullify Trump's declaration. Even though it would likely fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, it would force GOP leaders to publicly reveal what side of the wall they are on.

"I commend Congressional leadership for protecting federal workers, their families, and the American people from another damaging government shutdown. On the other hand, I am very concerned with President Trump’s decision to declare an emergency to build his ineffective and unnecessary wall. His decision to circumvent Congress is not only fiscally reckless, but constitutionally dubious," New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement.


NEWARK - On Feb. 13, 2019, Cardinal Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, has disclosed the names of Archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors dating back to 1940. The list of clergy names, a letter and video from Cardinal Tobin, answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and additional information is posted on the archdiocesan website:

In a statement, Cardinal Tobin said, “The revelations of clergy sexual abuse of minors throughout this past year have provoked feelings of shock, anger, shame, and deep sorrow throughout our Catholic community. In an effort to do what is right and just, we are publishing the names of diocesan clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Archdiocese of Newark. This list of names is the result of an extensive review of Archdiocesan records dating back to 1940. It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated. We also pray that this can serve as an initial step in our efforts to help restore trust in the leadership of the Catholic Church.”

In bolstering his position, Tobin also released a letter on the Archdiocese of Newark’s Web site.

“…The Archdiocese of Newark has a zero-tolerance policy for any type of mistreatment or misconduct involving children and young adults. No member of the clergy with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor remains in ministry.

“It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated. We also pray that this can serve as an initial step in our efforts to help restore your trust in the leadership of the Catholic Church.

“I wish to express my genuine sorrow to the victims and their families who were so profoundly betrayed. On behalf of our Church, I beg your forgiveness. You have my solemn promise of prayers and support as you continue on your healing journey.

“As a sign of our commitment and support, a new Independent Victim Compensation Program has been established. This program will allow those sexually abused as minors by clergy to seek compensation in a compassionate, expeditious and transparent manner. While no degree of financial compensation can adequately address the suffering endured, we want this to be a genuine expression of our remorse and our desire to comfort and compensate those victimized by this abuse.

“The disclosure of this list of names is not an endpoint in our process. Rather, it is an expression of our commitment to protecting our children, and a new level of transparency in the way we report and respond to allegations of abuse. We must protect our children, first, foremost, and always.

“Significant progress has been made to ensure that children are safe in today’s Church.

“Since 2002, we have implemented Safe Environment programs and measures that have positively impacted how we create and support safe environments throughout the Archdiocese of Newark.

“Moving forward, vigilance must be maintained. We all must be committed to protecting our children, the most vulnerable members of our community.

‘As such, I urge anyone aware of suspected sexual misconduct by any cleric, employee, or volunteer of the Archdiocese to report it immediately to law enforcement and to the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator: 201-407-3256.

“While these are difficult times for all of us, prayer is critical to maintaining our faith. Let us place our anger, shame, sorrow and disappointment at the feet of Our Lord, asking for the healing that only His grace can provide. We pray that we may be a source of strength and compassion for the victims of abuse and their families. We also pray for all members of the Catholic community who suffer from these tragic wounds in the Body of Christ. And we offer encouragement and fraternal support to the many faithful priests who are so deeply hurt by the failings of their brothers.

“I pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sorrowful Mother, but also the Mother of Holy Hope, may heal our hearts and light our way so that we will see the Church rise again renewed. Thank you and may God bless you.”

The names of the credibly accused can be found on the Archdiocese’s Web site here: