Sexual Harassment at Prestigious High School

     BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – Because the prestigious magnet school Brooklyn Tech gave wide berth to the head of its aerospace program, a female student suffered psychological injuries from his bizarre attention, she claims in a federal complaint.
     New York news outlets reported that the Department of Education fired Brooklyn Technical High School teacher Sean Shaynak after his arraignment on Sept. 30, 2014, for a 36-count indictment.
     Prosecutors say Shaynak had sex with several of the girls he taught, and they also are charging him with kidnapping.
     The plaintiff behind a Jan. 10 federal complaint against the New York City Department of Education identifies herself only as V.V. Neither Shaynak nor the school are named as defendants.
     Since the aerospace program that Shaynak headed garnered significant donations for Brooklyn Tech, the school allegedly treated him as its “most valuable teacher.”
     V.V. says “Shaynak’s open, notorious, and continuous sexual harassment of female students was tolerated and ignored.”
     “Shaynak was provided unfettered freedom and discretion to sexually harass, groom, and manipulate female students, including V.V.,” the complaint continues.
     While Shaynak’s alleged harassment of V.V. did not begin until 2012, stories about his conduct stretched back years earlier, according to the complaint.
     The school hired Shaynak in 2009, for example, despite the Department of Education’s knowledge that he had been arrested in the past for assault and battery against a minor, V.V. says.
     Shaynak allegedly made a reputation for himself as the “cool teacher” at Brooklyn Tech, and was regularly seen drinking and smoking with students close to campus.
     In 2010, the school’s principal observed Shaynak sexually harassing female students at a student dance while “dressed in drag, wearing a sexually provocative women’s French maid costume,” according to the complaint.
     V.V. says Shaynak set the outfit off by continually “making lewd and sexually suggestive gestures, including lifting up his skirt at female students.”
     Brooklyn Tech allegedly let the behavior continue despite complaints about Shaynak from witnesses on and off campus.
     V.V. says Shaynak befriended her on Facebook after she started attending his aerospace after-school program in 2011. The relationship escalated in March 2012 when Shaynak flashed his penis to V.V. her while walking her to the train station after a competition at school, according to the complaint.
     Over the next few months, Shaynak took V.V. to a nude beach, rave parties and the Museum of Sex where he gave her alcohol and kissed her, she says.
     Shaynak then allegedly began taking V.V. to his home to have sex with her on a regular basis. V.V. says she received lewd text messages from the teacher during school hours in which he asked her about becoming “boyfriend and girlfriend.”
     They routinely met for on-campus make-out sessions, according to the complaint, which says Shaynak also took V.V. to a sex club where she watched him engaging in oral sex with other men.
     The sexual relations between V.V. and Shaynak allegedly dragged on until they fought on their way to a Halloween rave in October 2012.
     V.V. says Shaynak was wearing a school girl costume when he picked her up from Brooklyn Tech in his car.
     During the drive to the party, V.V. says she became frightened as Shaynak asked her over and over, “Don’t I deserve to be happy?” and yelling at her aggressively.
     Shaynak then began hitting his car’s steering wheel while speeding recklessly, according to the complaint.
     “This was all the more terrorizing because Shaynak was still dressed in drag,” said V.V. says.
     The student allegedly found her chance to escape when Shaynak stopped the car and got out of it to urinate.
     According to her lawsuit, V.V. hid from Shaynak in bushes for about 30 minutes while he searched for her screaming “bitch,” and texted her “dozens of times threatening to go to her house and speak to her parents.”
     V.V. says she eventually made it home after walking to a subway station.
     The complaint seeks punitive damages for a violation of Title IX. V.V. is represented by Stuart Mermelstein with Herman Law New York.

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