A charter school is paying out $275,000 to settle a sexual harassment claims against Paterson school board member Manny Martinez.
College Achieve Charter School of Paterson agreed to the settlement on March 30, 2021. Social worker Shannon Beaton and teacher Nicole Perna filed the lawsuit against Martinez and the school in 2020.
On seven occasions Martinez, who served as vice principal of the school, touched Beaton’s body in an “inappropriate manner without her permission,” says the suit. On several occasions, Martinez allegedly touched her face with a microphone “to mimic oral sex.”
Martinez also asked her out on dates. She refused, but he continued to make sexual advances, according to the lawsuit.
Beaton filed a complaint with the school’s human resources. She was questioned by the school and later Martinez was no longer her supervisor.
Beaton identified Nicole Perna, a teacher and special education coordinator, as a witness. Martinez was made Perna’s supervisor.
Martinez allegedly retaliated against Perna by giving her a negative evaluation in May 2020. Her contract was not renewed as a result. Before Martinez becoming her supervisor, Perona received “very good performance evaluations.”
Beaton’s contract was also not renewed, according to the lawsuit.
Martinez did not respond to a call for comment for this story.
Martinez was hired by the school’s founder Gemar Mills in 2018 despite sexual harassment allegations. At the time, the Community Charter School of Paterson paid out $90,000 to settle a sexual harassment case brought against Martinez by a co-worker. Martinez worked as a supervisor at the Community Charter when he allegedly sexually harassed substitute teacher Toyreh Blacknell.
Mills did not respond to a request for comment.
College Achieve Charter School’s principal Henry McNair has also been accused of sexual harassment. He allegedly groped a woman 20 times at a now-defunct Newark charter school.