'Jerry Sandusky' Comment Leads to Lawsuit
CHICAGO (CN) - When a private high school fired a gay, HIV-positive teacher, it told him it would not allow his alleged policy violation to turn into "another Penn State and Jerry Sandusky," though the allegation had nothing to do with raping boys, the teacher says in a discrimination lawsuit.
Anthony Millspaugh sued Gordon Tech High School in Cook County Court.
Millspaugh taught at Gordon Tech, a Roman Catholic high school, for 26 years.
Although Millspaugh, a 48-year-old gay man, is HIV-positive and suffers from depression, anxiety, high blood pressure and hypertension, his diagnoses did not affect his ability to teach, he says in the lawsuit.
He was fired in 2012 for an "alleged violation of school policy," which is not further described in the lawsuit. The principal, nonparty Carl Hagman, told him "that his alleged violation of school policy would be reported to the police if he pursued his right to a hearing reviewing his suspension," the complaint states.
It continues: "During the subsequent hearing on his suspension, Millspaugh was told that Gordon Tech would not allow this matter to turn into another 'Penn State' and 'Jerry Sandusky,' referring to the former football coach at Penn State who was accused of multiple instances of rape and sexual abuse of minor male children despite the fact that there was no remotely similar conduct alleged against Millspaugh.
"On May 17, 2012, following a sham hearing that was conducted without, among other things, (a) affording Millspaugh with due process, (b) a right to call and examine witnesses, and (c) undue influence over the hearing process, Millspaugh was informed that his termination was being upheld. He was not provided a reason and was only told the January 13, 2012 termination was being upheld."
Though the lawsuit is vague about the alleged policy violation, Millspaugh claims that that other teachers accused of similar wrongdoing were not fired or suspended without pay.
"Millspaugh's termination followed a short time after his last complaint of discrimination, raising the inference of retaliatory motivation," the complaint states.
"Millspaugh was replaced by a younger, heterosexual teacher."
He seeks damages for discrimination and wrongful firing based on age, sexual orientation and disability, retaliation, and breach of contract.
He is represented by Jacob Meister.