Ex-Councilman Sentenced for Harassment

A judge has sentenced a former New Jersey politician to a year of probation for harassing a girl who worked for him.

Former Park Ridge councilman Michael Viola admitted he inappropriately touched the 16-year-old's breasts in the Westwood jewelry store where the 64-year-old is a part owner.

Viola had nothing to say at sentencing Wednesday.

Viola was charged with criminal sexual contact. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment by offensive touching under a plea agreement.

The Record reports the girl's mother told the judge her daughter was put in a “horrible situation” by someone she thought she could trust.

“This was a young, naive girl who was put in a horrible situation by someone she thought she could trust,” said the mother, whose name was withheld by the paper to protect her daughter’s identity.

Viola lost his re-election bid in 2011 after three years on the council.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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