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Bergenfield man in train suicide admitted masturbating in front of children

Photo Credit: TOP: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: TOP: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGENFIELD PD

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: A 78-year old Bergenfield man who was killed after he walked in front of a freight train last night was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in February to masturbating in front of four children in a park last summer.

Raul R. Gallardo wasn’t going to prison, but his plea agreement with Bergen County prosecutors stipulated that he be put on Megan’s Law probation for life and be evaluated at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel to determine whether he was a repetitive and compulsive offender.

One of the children fishing in Cooper’s Pond Park spotted Gallardo behind a tree last July 25, authorities said.

CSX train

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 on Feb. 24 in Hackensack, Gallardo admitting doing it 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. 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 four counts of third-degree child endangerment.

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.

Raul Gallardo (MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGENFIELD PD)

Sentencing was scheduled for June 20.

Last night, a conductor said he sounded the CSX train’s horn and hit the brakes after seeing a man on the east side of the tracks north of the West Clinton Avenue crossing at South Railroad Avenue just before 10 p.m., Bergenfield Police Capt. Cathy Madalone said earlier today.

The train came to a stop 500 yards later, she said. It closed several crossings north of Clinton Avenue before the scene finally was cleared at 1:40 a.m.

Responding were paramedics from Holy Name Medical Center, along with Bergenfield detectives, Bergen County Police and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The preliminary investigation has determined the incident a suicide,” Madalone said.

PHOTO, TOP: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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