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Published: Thursday, 3/7/2013

TPS principal returns after harassment accusation; suit weighed

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo Public Schools principal is back at work after a lengthy suspension, but the dispute over his alleged inappropriate conduct is likely not over.

Anthony Bronaugh, who had been placed on paid leave Nov. 16, returned to Robinson Elementary on Monday after an investigation into accusations by Julie Greenberg, a former Robinson teacher, that he had sexually harassed her. The investigation found he had violated board harassment policy but that much of the teacher's claims could not be substantiated.

Police also investigated the claims, but prosecutors declined to press charges.

The district made the last three days of Mr. Bronaugh’s suspension unpaid, and required him to attend harassment training. Kevin Greenfield, an attorney for Mrs. Greenberg, said he plans to talk to Mrs. Greenberg and her husband this week to discuss whether a civil lawsuit will follow.

“There’s more to it than just focusing on the conduct of Mr. Bronaugh,” he said. “It has to do with the whole way that this matter was handled.” Mr. Bronaugh declined comment.

Bronaugh Bronaugh
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City of Toledo human resources department staff interviewed 13 people and reviewed documents, video footage, Internet, and phone records during a three-month period. Toledo Public Schools contracted with the city to do the investigation to avoid a possible conflict of interest. Mr. Bronaugh and Mrs. Greenberg gave starkly different accounts of their interactions.

Mrs. Greenberg, who was new to TPS and Robinson this year, described to investigators a series of overt, unwanted sexual advances by Mr. Bronaugh, mostly during a two-day period in November. She told investigators she repeatedly expressed her discomfort with the behavior.

Mr. Bronaugh denied he made sexual advances toward Mrs. Greenberg, and said she initiated several conversations that were flirtatious or sexual in nature. None of the staff members interviewed by investigators reported inappropriate behavior by Mr. Bronaugh.

In one of the reported incidents, investigators determined Mrs. Greenberg’s version of events was “highly improbable.” She alleged Mr. Bronaugh approached her from behind while she was copying documents, and hugged and pressed against her. But investigators said the cramped space in the room made it “improbable that two individuals could fit into the confined space as [Mrs.] Greenberg described.”

Mr. Greenfield hadn’t seen the investigators’ report, but said in most cases of workplace harassment, there are generally few witnesses, and it becomes a he-said, she-said scenario.

“She wouldn’t have brought forth complaints in good faith unless she reasonably believed that these things happened,” Mr. Greenfield said.

In the end, investigators were unable to corroborate most of Mrs. Greenberg’s claims, and in others found Mr. Bronaugh’s conduct did not constitute harassment or a violation of district policy. Investigators did find that a conversation between the pair, where they discussed sexual positions, was inappropriate, leading to the finding that Mr. Bronaugh violated board policy.

Mrs. Greenberg took an extended medical leave from the district the day media reports of her accusations were published. She resigned Dec. 14 from TPS.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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