Bernardsville, Somerville communities react …


Bernardsville, Somerville communities react to charges against educator as protests hit schools

Written by
Mark Spivey
Staff Writer

BERNARDSVILLE — Some glared angrily in the direction of the small handful of protesters handing out pamphlets urging them to support legislation to lift the statute of limitation in civil cases of child sex abuse and to expand the definition of who’s liable in those cases. Some smiled broadly and even gave the protesters a thumbs-up. Some leaned out of their vehicles to shout a condemnation, critique or words of support.

To be sure, the range of emotions exhibited by parents filing out of the Bernardsville Middle School parking lot Tuesday afternoon was nothing short of staggering.

But vastly outnumbering any of those categories were those who simply rolled down their car windows and accepted a pamphlet. Hunger for reliable information, after all, remains a prevalent sentiment after the school’s assistant principal, Patrick J. Lott, was arrested nearly two weeks ago and charged with videotaping students showering in the locker rooms of Immaculata High School in Somerville, where Lott has served as a dedicated volunteer for years.

“I didn’t even know he volunteered at Immaculata,” said Tony Sisto, a 53-year-old resident of the Peapack section of Peapack-Gladstone and the father of girls in the fifth and eighth grades at the middle school. “It’s so devastating to these children to trust a guy like that when something like this happens.”

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