MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) – A kindergarten teacher says her principal did nothing to restrain a janitor who sent her a crude, sexual email and then assaulted her in her classroom in an attack so frightening it made her soil her pants. And after the attack, she says, the principal would not even allow her to change her clothes.
The married kindergarten teacher, a 10-year veteran at Munsey Park Elementary School, sued the janitor, Victor Berrios; the principal, Jean Kendall, and the Manhasset Union Free School District and its Board of Education.
The teacher, LM, says Berrios was on leave for an arm injury when sent her a crude email “over the school district’s email system and email server,” saying that he needed only one hand to please her.
LM says the email made her fear for her safety, and she forwarded the offensive email to the principal, but that Kendall took no action to protect her or assuage her fears.
LM says that Berrios “had previously engaged in acts of seriously improper conduct of a sexual nature directed at other female staff members in the school and … it was a common topic of discussion at the school.”
She says the Berrios’ behavior was so grossly sexual that he “was the subject of an order of protection for which the school district was allegedly aware.”
In February 2010, LM says, Berrios sent her an email in which he called her “mi amore” and wrote “love you.” On March 2, she says, he sent the indecent email which she forwarded to the principal. It allegedly contained these statements: “I guess you don’t love me anymore because I only have one arm, but let me tell you that I don’t need two hands to mke [sic] you, [sic] happy OK. I could have you jumping with just one.”
LM says she had two meetings about this with Kendall on March 3, during and after which Kendall failed to protect her.
On March 4, she says, Berrios returned to school.
That day, LM says, Berrios sexually attacked her in her classroom, “like an eight armed octopus, offensively touching and assaulting the plaintiff … all over her body.”
She says he groped her “breasts, her crotch, her arms and her buttocks, and then pressed himself and his chest against the plaintiff’s chest …
“This unwanted and highly offensive sexual contact resulted in the plaintiff losing control of her bowels, soiling her pants and the plaintiff running out of her classroom. … (T)he defendant, Victor Berrios chased after her.”
LM says that after this “patently traumatic and extremely emotional event,” the defendants “insinuated that the plaintiff invited the battery on herself,” did not allow her “to take care of herself after the battery by permitting her to clean herself up or permit her to change her clothes.”
A spokeswoman for the school district declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.
LM seeks punitive damages for seven counts, including sexual harassment, hostile work environment and negligence.
She is represented by Albert D’Agostino and Ross Gerber with Minerva & D’Agostino.