Hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tive charged in Ne­wark

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

Po­lice: Man com­mit­ted lewd acts in front of UD stu­dents

Man flashed UD stu­dents in Main Street park­ing lot, po­lice al­lege

A prom­i­nent hos­pi­tal ex­ec­u­tive from New Jersey was ar­rested last week in con­nec­tion with sev­eral in­de­cent ex­po­sure in­ci­dents on Main Street and the Univer­sity of Delaware cam­pus, po­lice said.

Ger­ald J. Picerno, 57, of Mor­ris­town, N.J., was charged with three counts of lewd­ness, five counts of in­de­cent ex­po­sure, two counts of third­de­gree tres­pass and one count of ha­rass­ment. He was re­leased on $5,500 un­se­cured bond and or­dered to have no con­tact with the vic­tims, the Univer­sity of Delaware or the city of Ne­wark.

Picerno is ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of RWJBarn­abas Health, one of the largest health­care sys­tems in New Jersey. Based in West Orange, the non­profit com­pany runs 11 adult hos­pi­tals and four chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals as well as a bevy of other med­i­cal ser­vices. Picerno draws an an­nual salary of around $1.7 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est IRS records avail­able.

Dur­ing the al­leged in­ci­dents, Picerno drove to Ne­wark in a ve­hi­cle reg­is­tered to RWJBarn­abas Health, court doc­u­ments in­di­cate.

An RWJBarn­abas spokes­woman said Picerno is on leave from the com­pany, and his name and photo were re­cently scrubbed from the com­pany’s web­site.

Sgt. Ger­ald Bryda, a spokesman for the Ne­wark Po­lice Depart­ment, said of­fi­cers used fin­ger­prints and sur­veil­lance footage to con­nect Picerno to four in­ci­dents, three of which hap­pened in a four-hour time span be­tween Sept. 15 and Sept. 16.

At around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 15, a 20-yearold UD stu­dent told po­lice some­one came to her house in the unit block of South Chapel Street and left a sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive note out­side be­fore knock­ing on the door. The note in­di­cated the per­son had been watch­ing the fe­male res­i­dents of the home with­out their knowl­edge.

The next in­ci­dent came less than three hours later, at around 1 a.m. Sept. 16, when a 21-year-old stu­dent was park­ing her car be­hind 123 E. Main St., which houses the Main Street Plaza apart­ments as well as Tav­erna and El Di­ablo.

The vic­tim told po­lice she saw a clothed man pac­ing around the park­ing lot. When she looked again, the man was stand­ing near her car, naked and mas­tur­bat­ing, Bryda said.

A half-hour later, the man was spot­ted again, this time be­hind the Mia Gal­le­ria apart­ments at 257 E. Main St. Two 19-year-old stu­dents re­ported see­ing the man emerge naked from be­hind a dump­ster and then walk through the park­ing lot hold­ing his clothes in a bun­dle be­fore jog­ging away, Bryda said.

The fi­nal in­de­cent ex­po­sure in­ci­dent oc­curred Oct. 15 in­side the Roselle Cen­ter for the Arts park­ing garage on Or­chard Road, ac­cord­ing to court records. UD Po­lice said two women re­ported that a man ap­proached them in the garage with only a T-shirt cov­er­ing his gen­i­tals and then shook his but­tocks at them.

Bryda said the break in the case came when fin­ger­prints gleaned from the note left out­side the South Chapel Street home traced back to Picerno. Po­lice also used sur veil­lance footage and in­for­ma­tion from au­to­matic li­cense plate read­ers to im­pli­cate Picerno, and one of the vic­tims picked his photo out of a lineup, court doc­u­ments in­di­cate.

A Ne­wark Po­lice of­fi­cer in­ter­viewed Picerno by phone Oct. 20, and Picerno ac­knowl­edged be­ing in Ne­wark dur­ing the time of the Septem­ber in­ci­dents.

“I’m hav­ing huge mar­i­tal is­sues. It’s bad. That brought up some old sh--,” Picerno told the of­fi­cer, court doc­u­ments in­di­cate.

Ac­cord­ing to court files, Picerno pleaded no con­test to a charge of lewd and las­civ­i­ous be­hav­ior in Day­tona Beach, Fla., in 1990 and was charged with third-de­gree sex­ual abuse in New York in 1979.

Picerno turned him­self in at NPD head­quar­ters on Oct. 27.

PICERNO

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