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Alleged Retaliation For Sex Abuse Report Prompts CCSD Employee's Suit

An employee at Clarkstown High School North is suing the district for retaliation.
An employee at Clarkstown High School North is suing the district for retaliation. Photo Credit: File

A former NYPD detective and 9/11 first responder who works as a security guard for the Clarkstown Central School District, is suing the district after he says he was retaliated against for reporting another security guard for having unwanted sexual contact with a student and another employee.

The suit, filed by Carlos Martinez, names the district, Superintendent Martin Cox, Deputy Personnel Superintendent Jeff Sobel, Director of Facilities and Operations Anthony Valenti and Clarkstown North High School Principal Harry Leonardatos, as defendants.

According to the 21-page lawsuit, Martinez claims he was retaliated against after reporting in 2014 that a security guard had unwanted sexual contact with a student and a cafeteria worker at Clarkstown North High School.

"Here's a guy who does the right thing and ends up being retaliated against so the school district can hide behind its image of being a perfect school district," said Martinez's attorney Stephen Barry. "They will shut down anything that threatens their brand."

The retaliation came in the form of Martinez being transferred to a different school, made it hard for him to receive special medical treatment associated with his Ground Zero service, and changed his hours, the suit says.

The suit also says the district only suspended the reported security guard and later appointed him to Martinez's former position.

Cox said in a statement that as a matter of longstanding district policy and law, the district does not discuss personnel matters or litigation.

"Nevertheless, the District disagrees with the statements in recent news reports and is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for our students, faculty, and staff," he said.

In addition to the transfer, Barry points to the loss of being able to attend needed medical treatment when there had been no problem in the past, forced him to give up the treatment.

"This is taking a physical and emotional toll on Carlos, Barry added.

The attorney also says the fact that Martinez is Hispanic plays into the suit.

"Other district employees who are, or have been during this time period, attending recurrent medically necessary appointments are all non-Hispanic white individuals," the suit states.

The district has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit.

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