SPCA official, accused of bigoted texts, quits
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By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
The head of the Monmouth County, N.J., branch of the SPCA has resigned amid allegations that he sent racist, sexist, and homophobic text messages to employees.
Victor "Buddy" Amato is accused of disparaging women, African Americans, Jewish people, and gays in dozens of messages, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Superior Court in Freehold.
The lawsuit was filed by Sue DesMarais of Jackson, an animal-cruelty investigator, who says she lost her job when she complained to her superiors about the text messages.
Shortly after she was hired by Amato in August, DesMarais "began receiving humiliating and offensive hate messages which were sent to an entire group of subordinate employees" by Amato, the lawsuit charges.
Amato resigned late Wednesday as the chief animal-welfare law enforcement officer, hours after reports about the lawsuit. He did not respond to calls to his home Thursday.
In an interview with the Asbury Park Press, Amato said the messages were meant to be private.
"They were just a bunch of jokes," Amato said. "Jokes going back and forth between a bunch of the guys."
Among the allegedly messages sent was one that compared Michelle Obama and other blacks to primates. There were also "degrading and derogatory statements" about homosexuals, Kwanzaa, and alleged police brutality, the lawsuit says
A message about the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., referred to the…