Students dispute sex-harassment lawsuit against Ludlowe teacher
Published 11:04 am, Friday, April 27, 2012
And the 15-year-old sophomore said she can't believe that the accusations in the lawsuit by a fellow Ludlowe student are true, so she asked her fellow students to write letters to Honey, voicing their support. Casanova said almost everyone she asked to write a letter did and she collected about 40 letters.
Honey was placed on administrative leave from his job since the lawsuit was made public. The suit contends that Honey violated a 15-year-old female student's constitutional rights during the prior school year, when he is accused of kissing the student, putting his hands on other female students and making inappropriate sexual jokes during class.
Although given several opportunities to comment on the lawsuit's allegations, Honey on Wednesday again declined on the advice of counsel.
Honey, a teacher at Fairfield Warde High School for 37 years before moving across town to Fairfield Ludlowe in 2004, is named in the lawsuit, along with the school district by the minor and her mother. The suit, filed by lawyer John Williams in U.S. District Court, withholds the names of the plaintiffs because of the student's age.
Police confirm that they did receive a complaint from the student against Honey, but after an investigation by the Youth Bureau, said they were unable to substantiate that any crime had been committed.
"I don't believe he did that" Casanova said of the lawsuit's allegations. "If anything, he's old school and was just trying to comfort her."
"It's a really fun class," Casanova said of her experience in Honey's class. "I've never heard him make an inappropriate joke. He was a funny teacher, but he never said anything inappropriate."
She said many of Honey's students, past and present, love him. "Every student who has him gets a college recommendation," Casanova said, adding that Honey's willingness to tutor her helped her bring her grade from a "C" to an "A." She said he made classes fun, and many former students often would visit him.
According to a police report filed last October, the complainant, a sophomore at the time, came to Fairfield police headquarters to report that she had been "held and kissed" by Honey on two separate occasions -- November 2010 and May 2011. She also told police that after being given a bad grade on a test by Honey, the teacher then said to her, "With these grades, you could be a stripper." Her also offered to come to her house on a Friday night for pizza and tutoring, according to the report.
When Honey was interviewed by police he said he did kiss the student on the top of her head on May 6, 2011, according to the police report. He told police the student had been struggling in class all year and he stopped her to offer encouragement and support, and the gesture of the kiss "was meant in a fatherly way."
He denied that he kissed the student in November 2010, and also denied making the stripper comment.
Police closed the case after determining, based on available evidence, that Honey had not committed any criminal act.
Casanova said she plans to deliver the letters from sympathetic students to Honey.
Among the things students wrote to the teacher are: "Without you here to lighten the mood while making fun of students, biology just isn't the same," or "I just wanted to let you know how much you mean to all of us and what you meant to me." Another student wrote, "I am so sorry of what happened to you. We miss you so much and it is hard coming to biology without you as a teacher."
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