UPPER DEERFIELD TWP., N.J. — An elementary school janitor in New Jersey is facing a list of charges, including child endangerment, for allegedly contaminating food and utensils with both bleach and bodily fluids.
Twenty-five-year-old Giovanni Impellizzeri, of Vineland, is also charged with aggravated assault and tampering with food.
Impellizzeri was employed by the Elizabeth Moore School in the Upper Deerfield School District.
According to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, state police were contacted by school authorities on Monday after receiving tips about social media posts that allegedly depicted Impellizzeri performing sex acts with what are described as “inanimate objects” at the school.
The investigation revealed Impellizzeri allegedly contaminated food products and utensils in the school cafeteria with bodily fluids that, prosecutors say, include saliva, urine and feces.
In one incident, police say Impellizzeri sprayed bleach into a container of cucumbers with the intent of harming children.
In another incident, police say Impellizzeri touched his private areas with bread, spit on it, then put the bread back into a container to be served to students.
“This is a public health crisis at this point. We don’t know who, where he’s been,” said parent Rachel Jenkins.
“Kids are getting sick, having diarrhea, vomiting, and we’re blaming it on a belly bug when in reality it could be hepatitis, it could be food poisoning,” said parent Cristencia Jenkins. “Like, who knows what else he’s putting in there?”
Prosecutors say Impellizzeri did all of this while employed by the school, where he has worked since September 2019.
Investigators say they are trying to determine exactly when the alleged acts occurred.
As disgusted as parents are about the accusations, they’re also upset with the school.
According to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office the school learned of the accusations Monday and contacted police. Impellizzeri was arrested on Tuesday.
Parents say they didn’t hear from the school until Wednesday when they got a robocall saying an employee was on leave.
The district didn’t contact the health department until Thursday. It also sent parents another text asking for tips and saying no students were involved.
One parent didn’t see it that way.
“If there’s bodily fluids and all this other stuff going around, that is direct involvement,” said John Wojtowicz.
The superintendent addressed some parents Friday in the parking lot who came to pick up their children.
Parents have now started a petition for the superintendent to be fired. The district has not responded to multiple requests for comment from Action News.
Prosecutors say Impellizzeri is in the hospital and will have a detention hearing Monday.
Officials say the school district is working with the Department of Health to ensure utensils, food preparation areas and surfaces have been sanitized and the food in question has been discarded.
The prosecutor’s office says it is also collecting samples from Impellizzeri to see if any diseases could have been transmitted.
Once that has been determined, prosecutors say the next steps will be provided by the health department.
“For now, parents of students and others who may have consumed contaminated food should contact their healthcare provider if they show signs of illness, particularly severe illness,” the Department of Health said in a statement.