Teachers Accuse Archbishop of Porn Cover-Up

           SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — When teachers complained that a private school principal showed them child pornography on campus, the Roman Catholic archbishop held a “sham investigation” and let the principal retaliate against them, three teachers claim in two lawsuits.
     Frank Oross and William Watters, longtime teachers at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco, say they both suffered retaliation after they “opposed” Principal Vittorio’s Anastasio showing lewd images at school.
     “Anastasio was displaying pornographic images of adults and minors and was also refusing to take action in response to complaints about others doing the same and was instead trying to cover it up,” they say in their May 9 complaint in Federal Court.
     Former library director William Gallegos sued the archbishop of San Francisco on March 31, also in Federal Court, claiming he was demoted after he told Anastasio it was inappropriate for him to show porn on his smartphone at school.
     The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco and Does 1 through 5 are the defendants in both cases, although spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco Mike Brown noted to Courthouse News that the archdiocese – not the archbishop – was served with the lawsuit and handled the investigation at issue in the complaint.
     ABC-7 News reported in February 2015 that at least five employees had complained about the principal. Anastasio showed the lewd images at least 20 times and played a video “of a 17-year-old male student lifting girls’ skirts to show their naked bottoms and touching them,” ABC reported.
     Anastasio could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon. His attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, said the facts are in the pleadings of a defamation suit Anastasio filed against his accusers in San Francisco Superior Court in July 2015.
     Dhillon vehemently rejected the employees’ characterization of Anastasio’s defamation suit as an attempt to retaliate against and silence his accusers.
     “He’s a human being,” Dhillon said. “He has a right to file a lawsuit when he’s defamed.”
     The employees’ attorney, Deborah Kochan, represented another teacher, Kimberly Bohnert, in a separate suit against the archbishop over up-skirt photos taken at Junipero High School in San Mateo.
     That suit was settled in November last year. Through discovery, Kochan learned about the investigation the archdiocese held in July 2014 after receiving multiple complaints about Anastasio’s behavior, according to court documents in that case.
     The archdiocese’s investigator, who “openly proclaimed her admiration for Riordan,” conducted the entire inquiry by telephone from her home in Louisiana and “predictably found no evidence of ‘illegal or immoral conduct,'” Bohnert claimed in her August 2015 complaint.
     The investigator never spoke with any teachers who accused the principal of showing porn, according to ABC-7 News.
     The principal also protected employees who shared photos of naked women, according to his accusers. Gallegos claims that Anastasio refused to take action against a male teacher who was sharing naked images of a female teacher.
     Oross, Watters and Gallegos all say they lodged complaints with Superintendent of Schools Maureen Huntington in summer 2014, but their complaints were met with a “sham investigation.”
     Oross and Watters, both physical education teachers, say their work hours were cut, job duties were taken away and their work was “hyperscrutinized” after they opposed Anastasio.
     Gallegos says he was demoted and publicly ostracized and denigrated to his peers in retaliation for his opposition to the conduct.
     All three seek protective injunctions, lost wages and punitive damages for Title VII civil rights violations and retaliation.
     Brown, the archdiocese spokesman, said no demotion retaliation took place and that the plaintiffs remain employed by the school at the same rate of pay. He further said a “very thorough and complete investigation” of the allegations was completed and independently reviewed by an educational professional.
     “The Archdiocese denied the allegations in the past and continues to do so, having found no evidence that they occurred,” Brown said.
     Anastasio, who graduated from Riordan in 1984, previously served as a guidance counselor and wrestling coach at the school, according to the school website.
     San Francisco’s Roman Catholic archbishop is Salvatore Cordileone, who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in July 2012 and installed on Oct. 4, 2012.

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