Honorable Stanley R. Chesler,U.S.D.J.

United States District Court

Frank Lautenberg U.S. Post Office & Courthouse

2 Federal Square

Newark, New Jersey 07102

RE:      U.S. v. Gary Vitta

           Crim. No. 15-01

Dear Judge Chesler,

May I introduce myself to you in the hope that what I submit to you in this letter about Dr.Gary Vitta will be an objective picture of this man and will in some way assist you when consider his sentence.

I was initially employed by the West Essex Regional School District as the School Psychologist and subsequent to receiving my Ph.D. I became the Director of Special Services; a position I held for 26 years before retiring. Five of those last years were during Dr. Vitta’ s tenure as superintendent (approximately 1989 through 1995).My responsibilities required keeping Superintendent Dr. Vitta and the Board of Education fully informed about the status Special Education students. I had a great deal of contact with Dr. Vitta and I will say that although at times we were on opposite sides of the issue regarding the services to/for special education students, Dr. Vitta was always first and foremost about “giving” the student every conceivable service. However, he was always willing to listen to me and respected my position on what we could and should do and what we could and should not do. His decisions were always to follow the law and give the students the best possible opportunity to reach their potential.

Our professional relationship began to change and become more personal after my husband died.  I accepted an invitation to attend a Holiday party hosted at his home. I met his wife, Susan, and his two outstanding teenage daughters, Alyson and Pamela. Slowly through the years a strong relationships developed and I was privileged to attend many family events such as the girl’s high school graduations and their college graduations as well as other events. I think I was instrumental in helping Alyson choose her profession and continued to encourage her to pursue her doctorate before leaving school. Alyson completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, married a few years past and is the mother of a wonderful daughter who will be three in May. I was given the honor of meeting the baby within hours of her birth and am a presence in her life as much as my schedule permits. I even babysit but only after proving myself to the parents as a competent baby sitter. Dr. Vitta cherishes our personal relationship and admires the fact that we have such a wonderful bond of friendship.

The younger daughter and I also have a wonderful relationship and it has been a blessing for me to see how she has developed into a remarkable young professional. I have seen the family in so many different situations of birth and death and Gary has always been the major glue for the family. Gary and I had many a conversation concerning my own personal trials and tribulations in my life and I owe a great deal to his counsel.

Throughout my life I have always found time to volunteer and give back to my community, then in 1992 after my husband’s death, I was invited to join Rotary International and I truly found a way to work toward better understanding in our world.

In 2005-6 I was honored to be District Governor in the area covered by Newark and the Delaware Water Gap. The one year as Governor, I called upon Dr. Vitta and his family in many ways; he and they were always willing to help.

Some examples: Dr. Vitta, although not a Rotarian was an enormous help when I was negotiating and planning the President’s Ball. His family opened their door to host Japanese high school students exchange students. When I hosted visiting Rotarians from around the world, Dr. Vitta was always interested in meeting them and invitations to family events were often extended. This was a great opportunity for visitors to learn about the customs in a one particular family.

A couple of years ago, a friend in Switzerland asked if I would host a 16 year boy so that he could fulfill a school “homework” assignment outside his country. Not having children around me I did not think the boy would have a good experience. As I was chatting with Dr.Vitta about my search for a suitable family, he immediately conferred with his wife and offered to host the boy for three weeks. The boy became a member of their family and had a memorable time with the Vittas. The parents of the young man and the Vittas have established a warm relationship.

Dr. Vitta is a very close friend and someone I have come to know extremely well over the years .I have always found him to be a person of the highest integrity, ethical in his dealings with others and a family man who has solid core values. He is always wants to personally help anyone who comes to him with a problem, and there are so many times when his actions for someone have made a profound difference in that person’s life.

As a friend and not as his therapist I can say without reservation I have been seriously concerned about his emotional and physical health over this past year. Dr. Vitta has punished himself over this past year and no longer appears as the smiling, eager to please enthusiastic man he was. He admits he made a terrible error and it is hard to believe that anyone can punish him more than the punishment he has and continues to inflict upon himself.

 I will continue to stay close to Dr. Vitta and his family no matter what the final outcome of this ordeal is. I will always stand  by him one hundred percent because I know who and what he is not only to me but to many others. If you have any questions and concerns  please don’t hesitate to contact me



Dr. Karien Ziegler, Former Governor of Rotary Service Organization