Tucumcari Public Schools awarded employee Diane Trujillo $28,000 in an out-of-court settlement stemming from her sexual harassment complaint against former school principal David Castillo and her allegations that school district officials retaliated against her for filing the complaint.
According to court records released by Tucumcari Public Schools, Trujillo was awarded the sum to cover legal fees and $3,000 was awarded to compensate Trujillo for psychological counseling expenses “incurred by the charging party, individually, or for members of her immediate family.”
The settlement agreement specifies that Trujillo will remain in her position as a reading specialist and student assistance team chairwoman for the remainder of the school year. Trujillo said she will continue working at the school district next year.
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.
Trujillo provided a statement by e-mail Monday.
“I choose to settle the Human Rights Bureau case with Tucumcari Public Schools because I want to put this terrible chapter of my life in the past and move forward," Trujillo’s e-mail states. "My decision to settle for the amount listed in the agreement released by Tucumcari Public Schools was based on the knowledge that the school could never pay me enough to make up for what I had been through and because I understood that any amount of settlement would come directly from a school budget set aside for children’s education. The children of our community are a precious resource I am dedicated to educating. I always have and always will consider the opportunity to teach children a sacred dedication where we as educators put the children above ourselves. It is my sincere belief that now that this matter is settled, I can get back to the business of putting children first in education.”
Trujillo is one of four school employees to file complaints against Castillo for sexual harassment and the school district for retaliation. The remaining complainants include Linda Lambert, Lateresa Brake and Terrie Maestas.
Charles Goodmacher, a consultant with the state National Education Association, said none of the three remaining employees have reached settlements with the school district.
Lambert was placed on paid administrative leave April 14 amid allegations of misconduct. She said she was reassigned to a teaching position she was not qualified for in retaliation for filing her complaint against Castillo.
Carol Helms, the attorney representing Tucumcari Public Schools, declined comment by phone Tuesday.
Castillo could not be reached for comment Tuesday.