FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The former Fayetteville School District Superintendent is suing the district for $1.5 million or reinstatement, claiming he was wrongfully fired for allegedly sexually harassing a female employee.
Dr. Matthew Wendt argues that the district’s internal investigation found “no basis” that he sexually harassed Shae Lynn Newman, according to a complaint filed Friday (Sept. 27) in Washington County Circuit Court.
“Based on evidence that has been provided to us thus far … there was really no investigation after March 30,” said Randy Coleman, Wendt’s lawyer.
“And somewhere, somehow, someway, the district reversed the finding … and proceeded to terminate Dr. Wendt basically upon allegations of sexual harassment.”
Coleman also said that the district and Newman didn’t follow its own policies for filing the initial complaint.
Wendt said he’s been rejected from more than 100 openings, including working as a car salesman, based on his alleged conduct at the district.
He said the complaints were based on lies supplied from Newman to her lawyer, Suzanne Clark.
Newman accused Wendt in March of sexual harassment. Then, in April, Clark released a letter from Newman accusing Wendt of making unwanted sexual advances and threats toward her.
Clark also released several text messages that appeared to show Wendt threatening Newman’s job and stalking her.
Wendt was fired on June 18 for breach of contract for derogatory comments against a fellow employee violating district policy, according to Susan Kendall, attorney for the School Board.
Text messages between the two, obtained through the state Freedom of Information Act, show Wendt allegedly sent Newman several sexually explicit messages after the two had an affair.
Wendt has sued Newman in a separate filing, alleging she made false claims about their relationship which led to his firing and damaged his career. He’s seeking $850,000 in damages.
In that complaint, he accused Newman of using “the media in lieu of the proper forum to resolve issues” and launching a “public relations piece disguised as a legal pleading,” according to court documents.
Clark argued that Wendt filed his lawsuit to unmask his accuser.
“Wendt’s intention in filing his complaint was to disclose (Newman’s) identity and make public assertions he apparently believes exonerate his repugnant and abusive conduct toward Ms. Newman,” Clark wrote.
“Wendt laments his lack of employment and faults (Newman) for that status. If Wendt wants someone to blame for being out of a job and ‘damaged in the marketplace,’ he should look in the mirror.”