AP Sues Retired Principal For Sexual Harassment
When longtime principal John Quattrocchi was walked out of PS 43 by New York City Department of Education officials and school security officers in mid- September of 2010, rumors swirled among staff and parents as to why he had been suspended.
Earlier this year, after a full investigation by the DOE, Quattrocchi was allowed to retire quietly, and school officials still refused to talk about the reasons for his removal from the school.
Now, however, a lawsuit in federal court brought by a former assistant principal at the school has shed light on Quattrocchi’s downfall.
The suit, filed on July 11 by staffer Frank Farino, alleges that for two years, Quattrocchi sexually harassed him, once even pushing him down on a Las Vegas hotel bed, fondling him and kissing him passionately.
Farino also alleges in his suit that when he turned down the principal’s advances and reported the incidents to the Department of Education, Quattrocchi retaliated by giving him unsatisfactory evaluations.
Farino says that Quattrocchi often gave him unwanted gifts and once sent him a birthday card which “depicted a naked man with a fully-erect penis on the inside and the words “It’s Hard to Believe That You’re Another Year Older.” The inside of the card said, “I suggest you take this sitting down.”
Inside the card, Quattrocchi allegedly wrote, “No crossed legs.. but lots of chanting. Love, John.”
Farino says that the harassment crossed a line while the two were attending an educational conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On the first day of the conference, Farino says, Quattrocchi greeted him with a kiss on the lips. Farino says in the suit that he clearly indicated to Quattrocchi that he was not interested in any kind of sexual relationship.
Late one night, the suit alleges, Quattorcchi contacted Farino and ordered him to come to his hotel room.
When he got there, Quattrocchi was angry about being rebuffed and sudden threw Farino face down onto the bed.
The suit alleges, “Quattrocchi, who is at least fifty pounds heavier than Farino, then mounted Farino while pinning his arms to his side.”
When Farino tried to get away, the suit alleges, Quattrocchi told him to be still if he wanted to keep his job.
He continued to fondle Farino for a while and then got up and ordered Farino to sleep in his bed.
Quattrocchi then sat down on a chair and fell asleep.
While Quattrocchi slept, Farino left the room.
The next day, he allegedly threatened Farino to keep silent about the incident, warning him that “people in Las Vegas have been known to disappear.”
Quattrocchi allegedly continued to harass Farino over the next months, alternately threatening him and promising him a promotion.
He steadfastly refused to go to other out-of-town conferences, especially when told he had to share a room with his principal. In June of 2010, Quattrocchi told Farino that he was going to receive an unsatisfactory rating for the school year. He told Farino that he had a “paper trail” that proved Farino was not a satisfactory supervisor.
The events cotinuned to transpire in July of 2010 when Farino filed a complaint with the DOE and requested a transfer to another school.
He says that the transfer never came, however, and that the DOE never addressed his complaint.
He further says that he went to Community Superintendent Michelle Lloyd-Bay but was turned down for a transfer because of his U rating.
Then, in September, Quattrocchi was walked out of the building, but Farino was never contacted as to whether his complaint had been the reason.
In April, DOE spokesperson Margie Feinberg said of Quattrocchi, “As part of his stipulation agreement, the principal was allowed to retire, effective April 16, 2012. There will be no further action taken in this case.”
Farino is asking unspecified damages.
The DOE declined to comment on the case, other than to say that Quattrocchi has retired.
Quattrocchi could not be reached for comment.