NEW YORK – A Greek-American educator is being accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by her former subordinate in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Carisa Gaylardo alleges that she was fired from Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy, also known as Middle School/High School 141, where she was a probationary physical education teacher, when “Memos triggered an investigation into her relationship with a student after Gaylardo refused Memos’ offer to have a threesome with her and her boyfriend,” according to the Daily News.
in court papers, Gaylardo charged that “she was given an unsatisfactory rating and ultimately canned after she rejected the repeated kinky offers from tenured gym teacher Sofia Memos.
Gaylardo claims that “the spurned supervisor then surreptitiously triggered a Department of Education investigation into Gaylardo’s ‘flirtatious’ relationship with one of her students – a teen Gaylardo was mentoring.
Memos made the bogus allegations in March 2013, just one month after Gaylardo ‘had’ rejected her advances,” her lawsuit said, and the probe effectively ended her six-year career in the New York City school system … the investigation found Gaylardo and the teen had traded 1,000 text messages between February and March of 2013…Gaylardo told investigators there was nothing untoward about the texts — the student played three sports, and was desperate for advice on how to balance athletics and school,” the News reports.
When investigators spoke with her, the News learned, the student en told investigators them “there was no inappropriate behavior, and that her parents were well aware of their relationship. Both the girl and her mother filed affidavits supporting the teacher,”
“It is wrong that such a good person…is suffering simply for helping me with my struggles,” the News quoted her writing, and reported that “Her mom called Gaylardo ‘a blessing to my daughter and the rest of our family…’She is the greatest role model in my daughter’s life.”
Gaylardo said she was pressured to resign based on the sheer number of the texts — and didn’t find out about Memos’ role in the investigation until a departmental hearing last month.
That’s when she found out Memos had filed a written complaint saying, “I have observed a rapport between them that had made me feel uncomfortable.”
Memos suggested that their behavior was “flirtatious,” and “Gaylardo’s unprofessionalism has only encouraged it by allowing (the student) to come into our office on many occasions to just chat. I have witnessed them giggling and laughing together many times,” the complaint said.
Gaylardo said in her suit the supervisor’s charges were “false and particularly curious and disconcerting because Memos herself had actually propositioned (Gaylardo) by text message and in person to engage in an inappropriate romantic and salacious relationship with her and her boyfriend.”
Gaylardo said the DOE was not interested in Memos’ ulterior motives, and that as a result of the allegations, she was ultimately given an Unsatisfactory rating, retroactively canned and put on a list of people not eligible to teach in city schools “simply on the frequency of communications without any finding of inappropriate contact or intent.”
“It is tragic that (Gaylardo) lost her career and livelihood . . . because she was overzealous in helping a student struggling with the pressure of high school,” her suit says.
According to Gawker.com, “Gaylardo says that the latter claim is false, and was concocted by Memos only after Gaylardo spurned her sexual advances. Normally a case like this might be he-said, she-said, but Gaylardo writes in her suit that Memos made advances to her via text message.”
Gaylardo sued to have the rating removed from her record, her dismissal annulled, and to receive back pay and benefits.
“We will review the lawsuit and respond accordingly,” a New York City Law Department official said.
The school’s website notes that “As a 6th through 12th grade preparatory school, the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy provides students with the skills needed to achieve their potential through a variety of learning styles and demonstrate mastery on standardized and performance assessments.”