NEW JERSEY – A New Jersey social worker had her license permanently revoked after engaging in criminal sexual contact with a teenage student she was counseling.
According to the Final Consent Order, Tara Cardinale, 39, of Washington Township, engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student who was under the age of 18. Cardinale was serving as the student’s primary therapist at the Bergen County school where she worked.
“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 Attorney General Gurbir S. 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.”
The Board found that Cardinale’s actions were not only a criminal offense, but also professional misconduct. This led to the Board revoking her license to practice in New Jersey permanently.
“The conduct of this therapist raised serious questions about her professional judgment and fitness to practice,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “One of the greatest harms mental healthcare providers can inflict on their clients and the profession is exploiting the trust bestowed on them to manipulate vulnerable individuals. Protecting the public from the violation of this trust justifies the permanent revocation of her license.”
Anyone who feels that they are a victim of misconduct by a licensed healthcare professional can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting njconsumeraffairs.gov/bme/Pages/default.aspx or by calling 973-504-6200 to request a complaint form.