Ex-Principal Says Superintendent Sexually Harassed Her
Diane Young Says She Was Fired As Retaliation For Her Claims
7:40 AM, Aug 2, 2011
A former principal at an East County high school said she lost her job for reporting rampant sexual harassment by a school district superintendent.Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday at the El Cajon courthouse in a civil trial that lasted nearly three weeks.Diane Young gets anxious when describing her alone time with former Mountain Empire School District Superintendent Patrick Judd when she was principal of Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley.In late 2006, less than a year into her job, Young said a meeting in her office turned awkward."He said his wife wasn't giving everything he needed, and he wanted to know if I would go to a hotel with him," said Young.Young said she turned him down, but he approached her several more times, using an obscene euphemism to ask for oral sex.In one specific incident, Young said she was preparing to go in for reconstructing surgery related to breast cancer when she claimed Judd approached her with another request."He stated he'd really like to see the before and after pictures," said Young.Young said in all, six other women came forward with similar accounts. In one case, Young said, "She said he came up behind her and touched and rubbed against her and actually touched his genitals to her back."An investigation followed, and Judd retired.Fifteen months later, Young said she was told by the new superintendent she was out as principal.She later filed a lawsuit, and said, "I absolutely think it was retaliation. He was friends with Mr. Judd."In court documents, school district lawyers said Young had "difficulty following district policies, was not properly controlling the school budget, and was not properly managing the employees under her supervision."Young said those claims are baseless, and she pointed to rising test scores and attendance her first two years, a petition drive organized by students and hundreds of letters supporting her.The school district pointed out test scores dropped overall, but Young said that was because of the final year of test scores and students irate over the controversy of her removal.Lawyers for the school district declined to say much about the case."Was it retaliation?" asked 10News reporter Michael Chen."No," answered Daniel Shinoff, lawyer for the Mountain Empire School District. "We have a complete disagreement with their perspective."Young, who is suing for emotional distress, said her perspective is simple: "Women should be able to speak up and feel safe and feel that their job is not at stake."Because it is a bench trial, the judge will render the verdict within a month.Judd told 10News he denies any sexual harassment occurred.