Janitors tied up, gagged 2nd graders, suit claims

Posted: March 05, 2013

Parents of three second-graders have filed a $30 million suit against a Jersey Shore school district, alleging that two school janitors tied-up, gagged and then photographed their children.

When the incident allegedly happened last March, the superintendent of Monmouth County's Long Branch School District dismissed it as "a joke gone bad," according to published reports.

The parents, in the suit filed last week, described it as "a brutal and inhumane abuse of power" that was "inspired by malice or sadism."

According to the complaint, two boys were in a bathroom at the Gregory School on March 1, 2012 as janitors Kevin Garifine and Robert S. Rego were doing maintenance.

Garifine and Rego demanded the two boys "play a game" and then "forcibly and violently tied" the students' hands together with tape. After ordering the two boys to "be quiet" the janitors gagged the boys' mouths with more of the tape, according to the complaint.

Two more boys entered the room. Garifine and Rego ordered their silence and then also tied up and gagged them with tape, the complaint states.

Then the two men pushed the four children against a bathroom wall and took pictures with their cell phones.

"The custodians eventually let the children leave the bathroom only after they had satisfied their sadistic desires," according to the complaint.

When they returned to their classrooms, the suit states that teachers ignored the kids' accounts, the principal failed to immediately call police, and the superintendent sent the janitors home, according to the suit.

The school district did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

According to the suit, which was filed by parents of three of the four children, the boys not only suffered pain when they were bound. The parents claim their boys suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, have heightened anxiety and fear, are unable to sleep normally and now have decreased self-esteem and depression.

Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, @samwoodiii or samwood@phillynews.com.

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