YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Investigators arrested a longtime Cliffside Park High School guidance counselor and high school, college and professional basketball referee on charges of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl after interviewing the youngster and a witness, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said today.
Edward C. Meier – whose arrest yesterday was reported exclusively in CLIFFVIEW PILOT – became the target of an investigation after “a relative of the victim recently observed what they felt was inappropriate behavior” in Teaneck, where the 60-year-old Meier lives, and told the girl’s mother, Molinelli said.
“She contacted the Teaneck Police Department, who notified the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the [state] Division of Child Protection and Permanency,” he said. “Arrangements were made for the victim to be interviewed by a detective from that Unit at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in Paramus.
“During the interview, the victim provided specific details regarding the sexual activity that occurred between her and [Meier[,” Molinelli said. “The relative who observed the inappropriate behavior also provided a statement to detectives at that time.”
Meier remained held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail this morning following a brief court appearance yesterday on second-degree charges of sexual assault and child endangerment.
A judge ordered that he have no contact with the victim and also prohibited him from possessing any firearms.
Meier began working at CPHS in 1982, first as a history teacher. He received the Guidance Counselor of the Year Award from the Bergen County School Counselors Association in 2011.
Meier has also been chairperson for the Bergen County Caring Awards, which honors students who dedicate large amounts of time to community service.
He has officiated on the high school, college, international and pro level since 1972, when he became a National High School Federation Official.
Meier refereed training camp games for the New York Knicks for 20 years, beginning in 1980, as well as for the New Jersey Nets from 1980-2009 and the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983.
He has held several basketball officiating positions in recent years — among them, coordinator of officials of the women’s Ivy League, Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and Northeast Conference of NCAA Division I.
Meier has also been a member of the NCAA National Rules Committee and the NCAA National Mechanics Committee, in addition to serving on various referee boards and committees in New Jersey.
Meier was an official during the 1994 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and also for four years at the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship (1993-96), and was honored as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Official of the Year in 1997.
He has officiated international games involving China, Russia, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Israel, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Hungary, Denmark and Latvia — as well as in the CBA, Eastern League, USBL, ABL and Women’s Pro League.
Meier also is a 20-year veteran of the popular Jersey Summer Pro League (1980-2000).
He has worked as a professional magician, as well, making hundreds of charity appearances.
MUGSHOT, TOP: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR