LYNNFIELD — A police officer who lost his job in April for allegedly harassing a Lynnfield woman faces up to two and a half years in jail.
Stephen Berardino, a Stafford Road resident, who served briefly on the Everett Police force, will be arraigned on Thursday, Oct. 11 in Peabody District Court and charged with one count of criminal harassment, according to his attorney.
“My client will plead not guilty because he is not guilty,” said Elyse Hershon, a Boston criminal defense attorney. “We will go through the process and we expect he will be acquitted.”
Hershon and a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said they will not see the complaint until the morning of the hearing.
The charge appears to be centered around a complaint by Paula Parziale of Locksley Road. She alleged that over a 10-month period and while he was an Everett police officer, Berardino yelled obscenities and tossed trash on her lawn, and accelerated his vehicle loudly in front of her three-bedroom ranch style home.
Parziale secured a restraining order against Berardino, alleging he attempted to drive head-on into her vehicle, and tossed explosive devices on her lawn, according to court documents.
“The criminal complaint is rooted in some of the things that were the basis for the restraining order, but not all of those will be the basis for the criminal matter,” said Hershon. “That will be up to the prosecutor. I don’t know which alleged incidents the government will use.”
It’s unclear why Parziale was targeted.
Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie said prosecution of Berardino is in Lynnfield’s hands. When his department learned of the allegations, a review was ordered, and Berardino resigned. He was hired in the summer of 2017 and was a probationary officer at the time of the incident, the chief added.
Lynnfield Police Chief David J. Breen did not return a call seeking comment.