Former Leonia firefigher charged with leaving child, 5, unattended in park

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Toni Yates reports on a former Leonia firefighter charged with leaving a child alone in a park. (WABC)

A former firefighter in New Jersey is accused of leaving a 5-year old child alone in a park.

Now the man is under arrest, charged with lewdness and child endangerment.

Former Leonia fireman Charles Pipitone posted his $2500 bail Wednesday night and was released.

We spotted him driving by his Ridgefield Park home. He didn't stop to speak, but one of his neighbors did.

"I never hear fussing screaming, fighting. I talk to the kids all the time, they're usually happy," she said.

Pipitone was arrested Wednesday after a police investigation, the result of a complaint from a parent who was in the park next to the police station Monday, who found the child unattended for at least an hour.

"It became very obvious to her that this child had no supervision. She went looking for a parent and found the defendant," said Leonia Police Chief Thomas Rowe.

Police took the child into their care temporarily, questioned Pipitone and determined charges against him were in order.

"He's being charged with one count of child endangerment and one count of lewdness, 4th degree crimes," said Rowe. "He's charged with lewdness because there were children in the park at the time."

We went to his home, where no one inside would speak. We watched him circle the block while we were there. His neighbor says they've lived next to each other 10 years and she's always seen only a good father.

"Yeah, he's a good Dad, he works hard, late so he wouldn't see them. I used to babysit for him," said the neighbor.

Police have handed the case over to the Bergen Coounty Prosecutor's office. They will decide whether or not to indict.
Related Topics:
lewdnessfirefightersnew jersey newschild endangermentLeonia
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