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Saturday, August 5, 2023

District 7 Superintendent Roberto Padilla Has Not Responded To the Sexual Harassment Charges Filed Against Him in Federal Court

 Whenever the NYC Department of Education hires an administrator-level person who has been accused of, or found guilty of, serious misconduct, people in NYC wonder what the heck is up with that?

I don't. Individuals who are accused of serious wrongdoing need a job, and the NYC Department of Education need high-office individuals who will keep the secrets of the Department safe from public view, including their own.

Be sure, there are a lot of secret deals behind closed doors within the NYC Department of Education.

Just sayin".......

Betsy Combier

Roberto Padilla (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Bronx school superintendent fails to respond to sexual harassment lawsuit as accusers seek default judgment
By Cayla BambergerNew York Daily News, August 4, 2023

Two former educators accusing a Bronx superintendent of sexual harassment have asked a state judge to rule in their favor after the school head failed to respond to the complaint, according to court documents. 

(Tracy Y. Allen v Roberto Padilla, 22-cv-09523-CS, SDNY)

Superintendent Roberto Padilla of School District 7 was served last summer with a lawsuit alleging he made inappropriate comments and advances toward female employees when he led a public school system in the Hudson Valley.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs told the News that Padilla has not appeared in court or responded to the lawsuit, leading them to file a motion for default judgment Monday in Orange County trial court.

“A year has passed since Defendant Padilla was served, and to date, no appearance, answer or reply has been forthcoming from Defendant Padilla or their representatives,” read court documents.

“It is apparent that Defendant Padilla will not proceed with their defense.”

Even though the lawsuit was pending, Padilla was hired to lead two dozen schools in the South Bronx last year as part of a broader leadership shakeup ordered by Chancellor David Banks that had the city’s 45 superintendents reapply for their jobs.

But the selection of Padilla, who has denied the allegations, stirred instant controversy.

“There was a civil action that was taken, and that hasn’t been finalized yet,” said City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala (D-Bronx), who has pushed back against Padilla’s hiring with an ongoing lawsuit. “I would’ve imagined that the process would be required to be finalized before you make a hiring decision that could impact hundreds of individuals working under him.”

“The fact that we have a superintendent that has an accusation of this nature, who is not reporting back to court or replying, is even more unsettling.”

Two educators from his former district of Newburgh — Una Miller, a former principal and Elizabeth Walsh, a former teacher — allege Padilla made inappropriate comments and advances towards them during a work trip two summers ago in San Diego. An independent investigator appointed by the local school board substantiated Miller’s claims.

“We live with the consequences of Dr. Padilla’s actions every day, but by ignoring our lawsuit he is attempting to escape responsibility,” Miller and Walsh said in a statement to the Daily News.

“Dr. Padilla continues to be employed as a Superintendent, and was paid severance from Newburgh while receiving his new salary. As educators, we taught our students to take responsibility for their actions,” they added.

Padilla resigned from Newburgh schools that winter after the district agreed to continue paying his $279,000 salary for two years.

In response, Miller and Walsh brought the lawsuit in May 2022. Padilla was served with the summons and complaint last summer but did not respond, starting a one-year clock for the plaintiffs to file a motion for default judgement.

Padilla could not be reached Thursday but has previously denied wrongdoing, while city education officials would not say if they were denying the allegations.

“We take all claims of harassment seriously and believe that they should be thoroughly investigated,” said public schools spokesman Nathaniel Styer in a statement.

The Newburgh public schools have denied wrongdoing that contributed to the alleged harassment or women’s resignations from the district, including that it failed to make its sexual harassment prevention training video interactive, according to court documents.

Councilwoman Ayala suggested the administration “jumped the gun” by hiring Padilla, rather than wait until if he is cleared after the process is done.