Sarasota County Schools bracing for potential sexual harassment lawsuit

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The second in command at Sarasota County Schools is accused of serious misconduct. One of his employees came forward, accusing him of sexual harassment and making a threat.

Now the school board is bracing for a costly lawsuit.

The chief operating officer for Sarasota County Schools, Jeff Maultsby, has been on paid administrative leave since June.

This all started after his assistant, Cheraina Bonner, says for months, Maultsby sent her hundreds of inappropriate texts, many at night. She got concerned for her safety after she asked him to stop.

“He sent her a text that said ‘snitches get stitches,’” said Bonner’s attorney Sara Blackwell.

After Maultsby was placed on leave, the school board hired a third party to conduct an investigation. The board spent more than $71,000 on that report. It won’t be released to the public until Sept. 28.

Bonner’s attorney says she doesn’t want this to go to trial, but she’ll take it there if needed.

“This is not about for…lets see how many millions of dollars Cheraina Bonner can make. This is about justice, fairness, protection of other women,” said Blackwell.

The $71,000 report was paid for with taxpayer dollars. With attorney’s fees reaching $360 an hour, a lawsuit would be extremely costly.

Bonner doesn’t want money, she wants Maultsby and Superintendent Todd Bowden out of the job.

“We don’t want no more victims, we are out to fight to protect the women who work in the school board system, in the school system,” said Blackwell. “We want to show women that if you stand up for yourself that justice can come out of it with the balance of, we don’t want to waste taxpayers’ dollars.”

The Sarasota County school board will decide on the job status of Maultsby and Superintendent Todd Bowden on Nov. 5.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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