Sarasota School's COO texted assistant hundreds of times
SARASOTA COUNTY -
Text Messages reveal a pattern of alleged sexual harassment with drunken late night texts from one Sarasota County School’s top administrators and his administrative assistant. The School district is currently investigating multiple complaints.
A video sent at 1 AM Christmas Morning is one of over 800 text messages sent between Sarasota County Schools Chief Operating Officer Jeff Maultsby and his administrative assistant Cheraina Bonner.
“Really two months after he started working for the district,” McKinnon said. “He started texting his administrative assistant, telling her he missed her, and shortly thereafter there were kissy face emojis, and it just kept going for several months.”
Sarasota Herald Tribune Education Reporter Ryan McKinnon says the texts show Maultsby discussing getting drunk and not responding to work-related questions.
“She finally sort of got sick of it,” McKinnon said. “And told him she was going to blow the whistle, and he told her as they say ‘snitches get stitches’ and she took that sort of the way you would take it, sort of sounded like a threat.”
The texts were obtained by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office after Bonner filed a police report in response to the alleged threat. She also went to Superintendent Todd Bowden.
“Felt like for about six weeks nothing changed,” McKinnon said. “And then finally after six weeks she was transferred into a different position, and an official investigation sort of commenced.”
Bonner has now filed two official complaints against Maultsby for alleged harassment, and a second based on how it was handled.
“One of them was against him, and one of them was against Dr. Bowden because of how Dr. Bowden handled it, she says she told him and that for six weeks nothing happened, so she wants to know why wasn’t it taken seriously, why did it take six weeks in order for anything to happen.”
An outside law firm is handling the investigation of the complaints and a statement from the School district said due to the nature of the complaints and several state statutes, they are unable to comment while the investigation is taking place.