By JOHN T. WARD
A former Little Silver school staffer claims she was fired after after rebuffing sexual advances by Superintendent Carolyn Kossack, the Asbury Park Press reported Monday night.
Former special services supervisor JoAnn Riley, of Edison, is also suing the school board and a former principal at the Markham Place School, who Riley claims refused to help her as Kossack’s advances became more assertive, the Press reports.
According to school board records, Riley was hired in August, 2012, at a salary of $105,287. Just four months later, in late November, the borough board of education held a closed-door executive session to discuss “potential litigation involving Ms. Riley,” according to minutes.
Riley claims the firing came “without advance notice that her work performance was inadequate,” the Press reports.
From the Press article:
Riley maintains Kossack’s inappropriate behavior started almost immediately with inappropriate texts, including one that informed Riley of the superintendent’s prior female lovers, according to the lawsuit.
“Dr. Kossack sent Riley texts about three different female lovers, one of whom was young; another of whom was described as physically beautiful but abusive and one who was mostly platonic because of a lack of sexual chemistry,” according to the lawsuit.
“In one of her texts, Dr. Kossack …‘joked’ about converting JoAnn into a lesbian,” according to the lawsuit.
The inappropriate texts mostly were sent at night and on weekends and “had nothing to do with anything that was remotely work-related,” according to the lawsuit, which maintains Kossack asked Riley to keep the texts secret.
Riley engaged in such conversations with Kossack hoping they would abate over time, according to the lawsuit. Riley sought meetings with Kossack to discuss their personal interaction and get performance feedback but had trouble getting Kossack to set a date.
When she did, on Nov. 27, 2012, Riley said Kossack fired her without advance notice that her work performance was inadequate.
The termination violated the board’s method of terminating employees, which typically is preceded by a board meeting, according to the lawsuit.
Kossack did not return a call for comment and her lawyer at the Manasquan law firm of Wolff Helies Duggan declined comment.
A lawyer for former principal Dennis Morolda, who left his job in May, said the allegations against him “lack merit.”