Monday, 16 January 2017

Fernandez wants Title IX investigation to remain sealed

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The ousted superintendent is opposing the Guam Education Board's motion to dismiss his $7 million lawsuit against them.

Guam - Things may be silent over at the Department of Education when it involves Superintendent Jon Fernandez’s case, but in federal court, his case is moving right along.


The ousted superintendent is opposing the education board’s attempts to dismiss Fernandez’s case. Fernandez also wants the Title IX investigative report to remain sealed and not be released to the public.

In court papers, Fernandez made several points as to why his civil rights lawsuit against the Guam Education Board should not be dismissed.

First, to counter GEB’s argument that they are immune from lawsuits because they were acting within the scope of their official capacity, Fernandez argues that it only applies if their conduct does not violate a person’s constitutional rights. In this case, Fernandez says his rights were clearly violated when the board voted to terminate his contract in the dead of night without ever presenting Fernandez any evidence or giving him an opportunity to defend himself.

"Here," court papers state,"the complaint contains factual allegations that the board’s conduct caused specific harm in quantifiable amounts," or that Fernandez essentially suffered emotional harm, injury, mental anguish, professional embarrassment, public humiliation and that his character was tarnished publicly and indelibly.

Fernandez also points out that his case received media coverage nearly every day for three months straight.

Among other arguments, Fernandez also wants the Title IX investigative report to remain sealed and not released to the public, arguing that it is not relevant to his lawsuit.

"The complaint alleges deprivations of his property and liberty rights without due process of law, and such allegations do not necessarily rely on the investigative report," court papers state.

The 69-page report conducted by GEB legal counsel Gary Gumataotao is the subject of Fernandez’s contract termination. Last October the board voted 6 to 3 to terminate Fernandez’s employment contract.

It was later revealed that in addition to a sexual harassment complaint against Fernandez, other alleged violations were discovered: that he had an affair with a subordinate who was terminated after the affair was revealed, that he failed to investigate another sexual harassment complaint, that he violated a disabled employee’s civil rights leading to a settlement and that he failed to investigate a hostile school environment regarding a teacher’s nude photos that had circulated.

Fernandez is asking Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood to deny the board’s motion to dismiss.

You can read Fernandez’s opposition by clicking on the file below.

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