Local/State

Former headmaster sues accusers

Friday, April 20, 2012

An attorney for East Wake Academy Headmaster Brandon Smith filed a slander and libel lawsuit against his accusers and the school Friday.

Click here to read the lawsuit (.pdf)

Smith was fired from the charter school March 29 after two school employees came forward with sexual battery allegations.

The Zebulon Police Department said in March that it was investigating, but no criminal charges have been filed.

Smith's lawsuit calls the allegations "blatantly false, scandalous, and unlawful."

It goes on to question the way the allegations were brought to the attention of the school's board and the way they got out in the media.

Copies of the teacher's sexual harassment complaints are attached to the lawsuit.

In one, the woman claims Smith commented that she looked good in her pants before pulling the back of them down and saying "You don't mind if I look at your tattoo do you?"

The other woman wrote that when Smith made advances, she told him: "I think you just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit." She wrote the comment seemed to upset Smith and the meeting ended quickly.

Smith's lawsuit claims one of the women waited six months before submitting a formal harassment complaint and the second waited more than a year.

The court filing says that because of the allegations, Smith has lost the ability to earn a living as an educator.

He is seeking financial damages in excess of $10,000 from the defendants for "conduct with malice and in willful, wanton and reckless disregard for the rights and interests of the Plaintiff."

In a statement, Smith's attorney James E. Hairston said:

"It is regrettable that after 10 years of dedicated service to the students and families of the East Wake Academy community, Brandon Smith has been forced to engage in civil litigation in order to clear his name. He continues to hope for the best for all of the students of East Wake Academy."

ABC11 is not identifying the teachers who are named as defendants because we do not generally identify the victims of alleged sexual harassment.

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wake county, local/state, ed crump
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