Joseph A. Del Russo JD.
Former Chief Assistant Prosecutor SVU, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
Joseph A. Del Russo is an attorney, professor and former Chief Assistant Prosecutor with the Passaic County Prosecutor's office, in Paterson, New Jersey. Beginning in 1992, he supervised a team of attorneys, detectives, social workers, paralegals and nurses investigating sexual assault, family violence and child maltreatment in the prosecutor's Special Victims Unit and Megan's Law Unit.
Del Russo is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Law. He was also a founding member and Past-President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children – New Jersey (APSAC-NJ).
Del Russo was a past member of the protection subcommittee of the New Jersey Governor’s Task force on Child Abuse and Neglect. He also was invited to participate on the Attorney General’s working group where he helped draft the Sex Offender Risk Assessment scale used in Megan’ s Law cases.
Del Russo also participated in the Attorney General's Working Group on the Electronic Recordation of Custodial Interrogations which provided input to the New Jersey Supreme Court's Special Committee on the Electronic Recordation of Custodial Interrogations. The final product led to the Supreme Court requirement on recording interrogations and the current Attorney General Directive 2006-4.
Del Russo directed the 2002 Passaic County Prosecutor’s inquiry into decades of alleged clergy sexual misconduct. This and similar investigations statewide were part on an overall response that led to the Memorandum of Understanding —an agreement between all five Catholic dioceses in the State of New Jersey, the county prosecutors and the State Attorney General.
Del Russo presently is a professor within the Montclair State University's Robert D. McCormick Center for Child Advocacy and Policy. He was among the original founding faculty in 2000. He teaches courses relating to prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual violence and child maltreatment cases in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Moreover, Del Russo was the primary designer of Montclair State University's first online program in 2008. The McCormick Center now offers advocacy courses for undergraduates, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students, both online and on-campus.
Among Del Russo's recent accomplishments was the design of a dedicated web site to train educators on mandatory reporting of child maltreatment. The web site began training teachers in 2013 within Passaic County, New Jersey on mandatory reporting of child abuse. He collaborated on a similar project for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families that launched April 2018. This mandatory reporting web site is available to institutions state-wide.
Del Russo is a founder and Co-Director of the Child First-Finding Words program in New Jersey, which trains detectives, municipal police, child protection workers, mental health professionals, physicians, sexual assault nurse examiners, and other family violence professionals on a protocol for conducting forensically defensible interviews. Del Russo also drafts curricula and is a trainer in New Jersey's Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) since 2005.
Del Russo's work has been acknowledged by his peers at the 2003 New Jersey Child Assault Prevention Awards (CAP) in Princeton, New Jersey and at the 2000 American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) Colloquium in Chicago, Illinois where he was received as a member of the President's Honor Roll.
Del Russo works collaboratively with other experts in the field as a consultant who provides crisis management, case file review, investigative support, fact findings, and recommendations related to sexual harassment, harassment, intimidation, bullying, child protection and sexual exploitation cases.
Del Russo has also published articles involving legal issues in abuse and neglect. He testifies as an expert witness and has collaborated on academic research within the field of forensic interviewing. He has conducted lectures, workshops and professional trainings on child maltreatment and sexual violence through the United States.
Professor Del Russo maintains an office in Clifton, New Jersey at the where he practices law part time.