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Friday, 16 October 2020

School therapist, 40, pleads guilty to having sex and sending lewd messages to a student, 17, and is stripped of her counseling license

 A New Jersey school therapist has admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student and lost her counseling license.

Tara Cardinale, 40, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact stemming from her arrest in January. 

Prosecutors said Cardinale, who worked as a youth therapist at the New Alliance Academy in Paramus, kissed the student she was counseling, exchanged lewd text messages with him and met up with him at her house on at least two occasions.

The boy told police he and Cardinale would have had sex had he not left her home.  

Cardinale agreed to have her clinical social worker license revoked as a condition of her guilty plea in late August.

Under the terms of the Final Consent Order, Cardinale is permanently barred from engaging in the practice of social work, or applying for a license to practice social work in the state of New Jersey.

Cardinale was counseling the victim at New Alliance Academy in Paramus, New Jersey

Cardinale was counseling the victim at New Alliance Academy in Paramus, New Jersey


Cardinale’s license had been temporarily suspended by the Board of Social Work Examiners since March 5 pending the outcome of the criminal case against her.

'This licensee engaged in sexual conduct with a teenager under her professional supervision, not only violating our criminal laws, but also committing an appalling breach of basic ethics and professional standards,' said State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. 

'The grave professional consequences this social worker faces are proof of our determination to protect the public, and the integrity of the vast majority of mental health professionals who work tirelessly for their clients every day.' 

Prosecutors said Cardinale kissed the student, exchanged lewd text messages with him and met up with him at her house on at least two occasions

Prosecutors said Cardinale kissed the student, exchanged lewd text messages with him and met up with him at her house on at least two occasions

The case began unfolding on December 29, 2019, when the Paramus Police Department received a tip that Cardinale was engaging in a sexual relationship with a student under the age of 18. 

Following a joint investigation by the Washington Township Police Department and Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, Cardinale was arrested on January 10. She was initially charged with endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sexual contact. 

During a detention hearing earlier this year, a prosecutor told the court that Cardinale and the victim 'sexted' each other and discussed the prospect of having a sexual relationship, reported NorthJersey,com.   

The teen said he went to Cardinale's home on two separate occasions.

In one instance, the therapist did not invite him inside but the two kissed by her door, and the teen told police he groped his therapist. 

On a subsequent visit to her home, Cardinale invited the boy inside, but he left after his mother called him, saying that police were investigating his contact with the therapist.  

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