Ex-school security staffer sues Montgomery Co. Public Schools $1.1M in sexual harassment case

A former middle school security staff member claims a Montgomery County, Maryland, school principal sexually harassed him, and that he was retaliated against and eventually fired for reporting it to school officials.

Scott Wilson, of Damascus, worked as a member of the school security team at a Damascus middle school. He claims in a lawsuit filed in federal court that Louise Worthington, the principal of John T. Baker Middle School, began sexually harassing him in 2014.

According to court documents, Worthington made “a number of unwanted sexual advances,” including one in which she reportedly took Wilson’s keys from him, put them in her underwear, walked into her office and gave them back to Wilson only after he insisted she return them.

Wilson reported the incident and others to a member of the school security supervisory staff, Wayne Farrell, court documents said. Wilson claimed that Farrell took a statement from him but that there was no follow up.

Instead, Wilson maintains that as a result of his complaint, Worthington began to retaliate against him, placing him in a peer review program usually recommended when staff members aren’t meeting expectations on the job.

In February 2017, Wilson was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a firearm. Wilson’s attorney contends he immediately reported the arrest to his supervisors. Wilson did have a firearm that was legally registered to him in Maryland. He was given two years of unsupervised probation and was ordered to pay $50 in court costs, which Wilson said he did.

Months later, in May, Wilson said school officials forwarded his complaints about the alleged harassment to Daryl Williams, then a Montgomery County schools clusters superintendent. Wilson alleged that school officials falsely claimed they had only then learned of Wilson’s arrest for the firearm possession charge and that he was placed on administrative leave.

In January 2018, Wilson was terminated.

The lawsuit argues that Wilson was subject first to harassment, and then to retaliation for reporting the incidents, and then eventually fired. Claiming those are violations of federal law, Wilson is asking for damages of $1.1 million.

When contacted about the case, MCPS spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said the school system could not comment on pending litigation.

But she did state in an email, “It is important to note that MCPS takes all complaints of harassment seriously. At the time of the complaint, Mr. Wilson’s claims were thoroughly investigated and based on what we determined in our investigation, those claims were found to be unsubstantiated. MCPS is filing a motion to dismiss this lawsuit.”

The statement also added that Worthington remains on the job as school principal. She’s been on the job as principal there since 2005.

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