A lawsuit against Broward County Public Schools over allegations of sexual harassment involving a school principal is set to move forward.
The lawsuit alleges the district did not take action to protect an employee from Oslay Gil, the principal of Riverland Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.
Cherellda Branch-McKenzie, a former guidance counselor at the school, filed the lawsuit. In the complaint, Branch-McKenzie said Gil would harass her daily.
The suit alleges he touched her on "multiple occasions on her buttocks," saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, but it felt good!" It further alleges he said, "Let me get that right there," referring to a sex act, and, "Let me kiss you right there on your neck." When she told him to stop, Gil threatened to humble her, saying, in his country, "women bow down," she said.
The school board chose not to discipline Gil, citing insufficient evidence.
Eventually, Branch-McKenzie was able to transfer out of Riverland.
The district had already disciplined Gil for similar complaints at his two previous schools dating to at least 2008. He served a five-day suspension in 2010, and the district removed him as principal of Sunrise Middle School.
Nearly two dozen women reported sexual harassment.
In a school board investigation, one teacher stated Gil "ran his finger down her back," saying, "This is how I met my wife."
He allegedly told that teacher, who is Jamaican, that he liked all kinds of cake, "especially Jamaican chocolate."
Nadine Drew, a spokeswoman for Broward County Public Schools, emailed the following statement:
"Broward County Public Schools is committed to providing working and learning environments that are free of harassment. Any allegation or complaint concerning harassment is taken seriously and investigated. Immediately upon receiving the complaint being referenced, the district's Equal Educational Opportunities Department opened an investigation on Sept. 18, 2012. The findings of the investigation were reviewed by the Professional Standards Committee on June 5, 2013, which determined there was not enough evidence to support the allegations. Due to ongoing litigation, the district is unable to provide additional details or comments."
The case is expected to be set for a jury trial in the coming months.