The executive director of the National Burn Victim Foundation was indicted Tuesday on charges that he lied about his qualifications as an expert witness and illegally billed the defense team for his services during a high-profile child abuse case last year, the Washington Post reported on June 7.
Gary S. Stocco was indicted by a Prince William County, Va. jury on one charge of perjury and one charge of obtaining money by false pretenses. He was arrested by New Jersey authorities Tuesday afternoon.
Stocco testified on Feb. 26, 1999 in a hearing on a defense motion to have him certified as an expert witness in the trial of Jennifer Talley, charged with felony homicide and felony child abuse when a two-year old in her care died after being scalded in hot water last year.
A judge barred Stocco from testifying as an expert witness after Stocco acknowledged, under questioning, that he did not have a college degree.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert said prosecutors have evidence that Stocco has given conflicting testimony about his educational background during trials in various jurisdictions, but declined to provide further details.
“I cannot imagine where they are coming up with these charges,” foundation vice president Roy Grzesiak told the Post. He said Stocco, a former New Jersey state police officer, trained through correspondence courses and is “very qualified” to assist in burn investigations. Grzesiak also said Stocco has testified at dozens of trials during his six years at the foundation, where he worked as a forensic burn investigator before taking over the executive director position last year.
The nonprofit National Burn Victim Foundation, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., provides advocacy and services to burn victims and their families.
For full text, go to the Washington Post.