Sarasota School Board members approve sexual harassment settlement

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Tuesday night, Sarasota County School Board members voted to award a settlement to an employee after a sexual harassment claim.

Cheraina Bonner, an administrative assistant with the school district, will get $305,000. Attorneys will receive more than 92,000.

Bonner sued the district last year after claiming her former boss, former Assistant Superintendent Jeff Maultsby sexually harassed her. Bonner claims Maultsby sent her hundreds of inappropriate text messages and threatened her safety.

Shortly after these claims, both Maultsby and former Sarasota County Superintendent Dr. Todd Bowden resigned.

Bonner says this year has been a living nightmare. Every day she reports for work not knowing who will say what or give her the ‘cross-eye.’

“It’s kind of like living a double life, I come to work, I appear strong. But deep down inside, I’m dying,” said Bonner, with tears in her eyes. “I go home come home to my kids and I’m like, oh no, work was fine. But really I’m like I want to stab myself I don’t want to go back to that place, Oh God, here she comes. Let me hold my head down. “

While previous meetings on this topic have been filled with angry citizens and those vocal about the issue, Tuesday night’s meeting was much less lively. Only one man addressed the board saying he approved of the settlement and the board moving forward.

Bonner says this ends a turbulent chapter in her life and she now hopes she can move forward.

“What I’m looking for is closure. No more harassment,” said Bonner. ” Hopefully I can go back to being a normal employee.and try to live a somewhat normal life.”

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