BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore Catholic school teacher charged with sexual abuse. Now the school employee who reported it says she was fired for being a whistleblower–and she’s suing.
The archdiocese says not so fast.
Rick Ritter has details of the lawsuit obtained by WJZ.
The librarian claims the school retaliated against her for reporting the suspected abuse, but the archdiocese says she broke the law by not coming forward soon enough.
Outraged and beside herself, a former librarian and her attorney slap the Archdiocese of Baltimore with a 14-page lawsuit for being treated in what they call “a retaliatory way.”
“What the school did to her was particularly outrageous,” said Linda Carreria, attorney for librarian.
It all started last year when Archbishop Curley High School teacher Lynette Trotta was accused of having an affair with a 17-year-old student.
According to the lawsuit, librarian Anne Goodman caught wind of the alleged incident on March 6 when a student told Goodman that Trotta and his friend “did it in a car.”
Goodman initially dismissed the idea as an “immature rumor.” Twelve days later, Goodman says the student identified Trotta as the teacher and said she had engaged in sexual activity with him.
According to the lawsuit, Goodman did not know the proper procedures for reporting suspected abuse.
“And she wanted to make sure that she knew what she was hearing was not rumor,” said Correia.
…Which is why she says she waited to report it, claiming she was later fired for doing so.
But the Archdiocese of Baltimore says Goodman was let go for waiting weeks to report the alleged incident and released a statement, saying:
“The Archdiocese and its schools conduct extensive training with all employees and volunteers on child abuse prevention and reporting. Employees know that Maryland state law and school policies require immediate reports to civil authorities followed by a written report within 48 hours of learning of a suspicion of child abuse. We do take disciplinary action if a school employee fails to report suspicions of child abuse immediately.
“Ms. Goodman’s Complaint alleges that on March 6, 2014 she heard a student and teacher “did it” in a car. Her first report to school administrators was more than 3 weeks later, on April 1, 2014, which was the first indication the school had of a suspicion of sexual abuse. The school reported to the police that afternoon. Ms. Goodman had not reported to civil authorities. We do not believe we should pay an award to someone who knowingly fails to report child abuse for weeks.”
Adam Rosenberg with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center couldn’t agree more.
“The requirement is report abuse for 24 hours. If you sit on it for three weeks, there’s consequences that have to be paid,” said Rosenberg.
Maryland is one of only a few states that has no penalty for not reporting abuse.
Trotta later pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree sex offense. According to the archdiocese, she was eventually fired.