Jim Boyle Sep. 8, 2014, 10:05am


A Chester County man says he lost his teaching job at a New York private school based on

a false accusation of possessing child pornography, according to a defamation suit filed at the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.

Eugene Schwartz, of Phoenixville, Pa., says that the basis for the accusation made by the Green Meadow Waldorf School came solely from an accusation made by his estranged wife and never verified by school investigators. Schwartz says that the allegations were never reported to the police, and that he never possessed child pornography.

The reasons for his departure were revealed in a July 2014 letter from the school to the community, following an investigation of sexual abuse accusations made against another teacher.

In 2013, a memoir published by former student Kate Christensen detailed several occasions in the late 1970s when a teacher sexually assaulted her. The school's investigation identified the teacher as John Alexandra, who stopped working full-time at Green Meadow in 1979, but remained a board member until 1983 and a familiar face in the community, the suit says. The school has been banned Alexandra from the campus since the allegations came to light, it says.

Green Meadow also hired a third-party investigation firm to research any other sexual misconduct on the campus, a task that included interviews with 95 witnesses and thousands of pages of documents, according to the letter reporting the findings.

The investigation revealed more victims of Alexandra, from unidentified girls receiving very long hugs to victims of statutory rape, the suit says. The research also showed that Alexandra would harass and stalk the girls, sending them inappropriate letters and showing up at their homes when they were alone, the suit says.

According to the letter, the investigators also delved into other teachers who had been terminated based on sexual abuse accusations, including a middle school teacher fired after a student claimed he had intercourse with her while on a field trip.

In the case of Schwartz, the letter states that administrators were contacted by witnesses in 2005 that he stated he was in possession of child pornography. With only a week left in the school year, a teacher was assigned to accompany Schwartz during class and graduation, and Green Meadow severed its professional relationship after the school year, the suit says.

According to Schwartz's complaint, the child pornography accusation was made by his estranged wife and never corroborated by the school. The claim says that publication of the investigation firm's findings has damaged Schwartz's reputation and his career, and he seeks compensatory damages from Meadow Green and its management company, Threefold Foundation.

The plaintiff is represented by Joshua Janis of Janis Law, LLC in Malvern, Pa.

 

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