Tucumcari Schools settles out of court

Russell Anglin

Tucumcari Public Schools reached an out-of-court settlement with an employee who claimed district employees retaliated against her for complaining of sexual harassment by former Tucumcari High School principal David Castillo.

School employee Diane Trujillo settled her complaint while four more school employees who filed complaints have yet to resolve their disputes with the school district, according to Charles Goodmacher, a consultant with the National Education Association in New Mexico.

“I’ve never seen the settlement because it’s a confidential settlement between Mrs. Trujillo and the district,” Goodmacher said. “I’ll tell you that there are still complaints from the other individuals that have not been resolved.”

Tucumcari Public Schools Superintendent Aaron McKinney declined to comment on the matter Monday. The Quay County Sun sent open records requests to the school by mail Tuesday asking the district to disclose the amount of the settlement.

Diane Trujillo declined comment by e-mail Friday.

The remaining complainants include Linda Lambert, Lateresa Brake and Terrie Maestas. Martha Whitesides helped the four complainants in making their case, according to Goodmacher. Attempts to reach these individuals have been unsuccessful as of Tuesday.

According to a release issued by Goodmacher, three of the employees claim they were transferred involuntarily as a result of their complaining to supervisors, and the other two employees claimed they were subjected to unfavorable working conditions after filing their complaints.

In November, Carrie Moritomo, public relations officer with the State of New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, confirmed a determination of probable cause issued Aug. 23, 2010 in response to Trujillo’s formal complaint alleging she was sexually harassed by Castillo, and that Trujillo’s complaints to supervisors were not properly addressed.

According to the document, Trujillo submitted statements to the human rights bureau claiming Castillo began to sexually harass her in 2008 and that a supervisor told her to “just go along with it” when she complained in November 2009.

The document states Castillo denied the allegations and claimed there was nothing inappropriate about their relationship. The document also states other women have said they were sexually harassed by Castillo.

Castillo was put on paid administrative leave Nov. 11, 2009. Castillo resigned from his position April 6, 2010.

Castillo could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Attempts to reach Tucumcari Schools’ attorney, Carol Helms were unsuccessful Tuesday.