EXCLUSIVE: A 77-year old Bergenfield man who masturbated in front of four children in a park last summer won’t have to go to prison after pleading guilty today, but he will be on Megan’s Law probation for life and must be evaluated to determine whether he is a repetitive and compulsive offender.
One of the children fishing in Cooper’s Pond Park spotted Raul R. Gallardo “relieving himself” behind a nearby tree last July 25, authorities said.
Another of the youngsters ran over and found him masturbating in public view, they said. Police said a 53-year-old man witnessed it, as well.
Questioned by Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Marybel Mercado Ramirez today, Gallardo admitting doing to “to gratify himself.”
Gallardo, who was freed on $25,000 bail less than a month after his arrest, could have faced nearly 20 years combined if convicted of the four original child endangerment charges, Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian said.
He also was charged with four counts of exposing himself, two to children under 13 and two to children under 16.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to a single, third-degree child endangerment offense.
Prosecutors, in turn, dropped the other counts — on the condition that Gallardo be subject to Megan’s Law and probation for life, as well as an evaluation at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel.
At first, Gallardo refused to admit to anything, which would have nullified any deal.
But after a conference with defense attorney Ron Bar-Nadav, he changed his mind.
Jerejian set sentencing for June 20.