BROOKLYN (CN) – A public school administrator claims in court that his male boss sexually assaulted him in a hotel room after giving him pornography and trying to get him to join a foursome, then fired him for rebuffing the advances.
Frank Farino sued the New York City Department of Education and John Michael Quattrocchi, in Federal Court.
Farino became a teacher at P.S. 43Q in Far Rockaway in 1997, and transferred to another school 3 years later, he says in his 21-page complaint, with 27 pages of attachments.
In 2006, Farino says, he returned to P.S. 43Q as assistant principal, reporting to Quattrocchi.
The problems began in February 2009, the complaint states: “At a meeting, Quattrocchi shared with Farino stories and photographs relating to an ex-boyfriend with whom he had lost touch. Quattrocchi described how he and his ex-boyfriend ‘made the perfect team’ and how upset he was to be no longer in touch with this ex-boyfriend.
“Quattrocchi also told Farino that he reminded Quattrocchi of his ex-boyfriend. Quattrocchi stated that he believed her and Farino ‘made the perfect team.’
“Quattrocchi then ordered Farino to locate his ex-boyfriend for him. Quattrocchi told Farino, ‘You know you have to do this for me – everything will be OK,’ a phrase Quattrocchi often repeated to Farino throughout 2009 and 2010 as his sexual harassment continued.”
Farino says he took this as a veiled threat that “his job was on the line” if he did not comply. He says he found the ex-boyfriend: buried at a local cemetery.
“When Farino informed Quattrocchi of his findings, Quattrocchi instructed Farino to accompany him on a Saturday to visit his ex-boyfriend’s grave site,” the complaint states. “Believe his job security was at risk if he did not agree, Farino complied with Quattrocchi’s directive.”
Farino claims that Quattrocchi gave him a framed picture, a DVD and a card for joining him at the cemetery, and that he reluctantly accepted the unwanted gifts, fearing for his job.
Three months later, Farino says, Quattrocchi sent him a birthday card showing a naked man with an erection. “The front of the card states, ‘It’s hard to believe you’re another year older!’ Inside, it states, ‘I suggest you take this sitting down. Happy Birthday,'” according to the complaint.
A photocopy of the front of the card is attached as Exhibit B.
Inside, Quattrocchi wrote: “No Crossed Legs … but lots of chanting!! Happy Birthday Love John,” according to the complaint.
Farino says the card made him “very uncomfortable.”
Farino claims that Quattrocchi insisted on taking him to dinner, and put his hand on Farino’s thigh at the restaurant.
“Shortly thereafter, Farino found a gift on his desk from Quattrocchi in the form of a Cheesecake Factory stock certificate with the message, “Now you can own your cake and eat it too!,'” the complaint states.
Farino says he and Quattrocchi attended a Staff Development for Educators conference in Las Vegas in July 2009. There, he says, Quattrocchi demanded that Farino join him at gay bars.
At one, Quattrocchi pressured him to join a couple for a foursome, but Farino turned them down, the complaint states.
Farino says he lost contact with Quattrocchi for two days, but he reached out to him again out of concern that Quattrocchi might have suffered a heart attack. He says that another assistant principal told him that Quattrocchi was probably in his hotel room, and Farino checked up on him.
“When they entered his hotel room, Quattrocchi became visible angry and yelled at Farino, telling him, ‘I don’t need no fucking babysitter,” the complaint states. “Then, without warning, Quattrochi grabbed and threw Farino face down onto the bed. Quattrocchi, who is at least fifty pounds heavier than Farino, then mounted Farino while pinning his arms to the side.
“Farino’s back was pressed against the front of Quattrocchi’s body and Farino was unable to move although he attempted to break free several times. In response to Farino’s efforts to free himself, Quattrocchi threatened Farino by saying: ‘Don’t move. Do as I say and you will keep your job,'” according to the complaint states.
Farino says the assault lasted three to five hours, and he cried throughout it.
“After struggling for a while, the combination of Quattrocchi’s greater weight, and his virtually absolute power to cause Farino’s termination, compelled Farino to simply remain motionless, and tearful,” the complaint states. “Quattrocchi continued to kiss and fondle him.”
The next fall semester, Quattrocchi mimed slicing his throat with his finger several times as a warning for Farino to keep silent, according to the complaint.
Farino says he kept his distance from Quattrocchi when they attended another conference at St. Louis in December 2009.
“Fearing Quattrocchi would attempt to sexually assault him again at the St. Louis conference as he had done in Las Vegas, Farino avoided spending any time alone with Quattrocchi,” the complaint states. “He refused to eat any meals alone with Quattrocchi and retired to his room immediately after conference events concluded at the end of the work day.”
But Quattrocchi kept giving Farino presents, including a Human Rights Campaign teddy bear, a gift certificate to a day spa and a subscription to Details magazine, according to the complaint.
Farino says he never sought or acknowledged the gifts.
“Quattrocchi told Farino that he did not know how to show his appreciation for Quattrocchi and that he was selfish,” the complaint states. “Quattrocchi threatened, ‘If you hurt me, I will hurt you in many ways.'”
Farino claims these threats continued when he refused to let Quattrocchi share a room with him at the AVID Summer Institute, a professional training program.
He says that Quattrocchi responded, “Don’t worry, it will all work out in the end unless you want to be discontinued and ‘U’ rated.”
In spring semester 2010, Farino says, Quattrocchi sent him sexually explicit text messages, which are reproduced as exhibits to the complaint. Quattrocchi punned in a text about his dental problem, “no ‘sucking motion’ for two days until healed,” “implying fellatio,” the complaint states.
Farino says he recorded a June 14, 2010 meeting in which Quattrocchi threatened him by saying, “You hurt me. I hurt you.”
Quattrocchi then put Farino on mandatory leave “to have time to reflect and miss [Quattrocchi],” the complaint states. (Brackets in complaint.)
Farino claims that Quattrocchi fabricated at least nine complaints that Farino committed misconduct, falsely accusing him of being the sexual aggressor and accusing him of abusing and molesting students.
“Upon information and belief, these complaints are being orchestrated by Quattrocchi indirectly, or by his supporters, and the DOE is aware of this but nonetheless continues its alleged investigation of these bogus claims,” the complaint states.
Farino seeks punitive damages for sexual harassment, retaliation and equal protection violations.
He is represented by Joshua Friedman of Mamaroneck.
The New York City Law Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.