After a school year packed with stories of teachers accused of sexually abusing their students, here's one in which a school employee is accused of sexually harassing someone closer to his own age—just to mix things up. A pretty darn crazy lawsuit was recently filed by assistant principal Frank Farino against the Department of Education and his former principal at PS 43Q in Far Rockaway, John Michael Quattrocchi. Visits to dead boyfriend's graves, obscene birthday cards, proposed foursomes, Sin City assaults: this case has it all.
According to the court documents filed by Farino, which you can read below, the problems began when he became an assistant principal at "The School by the Sea," which he had worked at on-and-off from 1997 (with a six year break to teach in Long Island). Specifically when he began to interact with Quattrocchi more in the 2008-2009 academic year.
For example: In February 2009 Quattrocchi allegedly told his subordinate how much he reminded him of an ex-boyfriend and asked him to help locate the man, telling him, "You know you have to do this for me—everything will be ok." According to the complaint, Farino went and found the ex because "he believed his job was on the line." Unfortunately that man was dead, which allegedly inspired Quattrocchi to persuade Farino that the two of them should visit his graveside on a Saturday (which Farino did, again, he says, fearing for his job). Afterwards the principal took Farino out for lunch and gave him a card, a framed picture and a DVD. More gifts, and "numerous sexually explicit comments and other inappropriate behavior" greeted Farino at the school for the next year despite his rebuffs.
In February 2009 Quattrocchi gave Farino a birthday card with a naked man sporting an erect penis on the front. "It's hard to believe you're another year older!" the card reads on front, "I suggest you take this sitting down. Happy Birthday." It was then signed "No crossed legs... but lots of chanting!! Happy Birthday, Love John" (You can see the graphic greeting card in all its NSFW glory on page 27 of the court documents below).
And it goes on from there! There was that one time Quattrochi took Farino out to dinner and repeatedly placed his hand on the other man's thigh. The texts filled with dick jokes (also in the documents), and the time Quattrocchi tried to persuade Farino to join a foursome in Vegas, which Farino rebuffed.
But the next day Farino got worried about his boss and checked on him. When Quattrocchi insisted they talk in his hotel room, the man's lawyer says "Quattrocchi, who is at least fifty pounds heavier than Farino, then mounted Farino while pinning his arms to his side ... Quattrocchi threatened Farino by saying: "Don't move. Do as I say and you will keep your job." Quattrocchi also told Farino, "I don't want to fire you, you're not in trouble." The pair did not have sex, but Quattrocchi did allegedly force Farino to stay in the room so that he could watch him sleep.
Similar incidents occurred on a subsequent business trip, the suit says, and when Farino continued to rebuff his boss, professional retaliation followed in the form of poor performance ratings and worse. At one point the principal allegedly put Farino on mandatory leave to "have time to reflect and miss [Quattrocchi.]'" Farino claims that Quattrocchi fabricated at least nine complaints that Farino committed misconduct, falsely accusing him of being the sexual aggressor and accusing him of abusing and molesting students.
Eventually, after complaints from Farino and others, in 2010, Quattrocchi was transferred out of the school pending the outcome of an investigation into his behavior. He retired in April, according to the DOE.
"I feel I was violated and bullied by this man," Farino says of the experience. "He crossed a line." The DOE had no immediate comment on the lawsuit. Farino is seeking punitive damages for sexual harassment, retaliation and equal protection violations.