Local News

Administrator sues college after alleged gum incident

Posted January 22, 2009 10:49 a.m. EST
Updated January 22, 2009 11:01 p.m. EST

— An employee at Johnston Community College has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the school, claiming administrators failed to protect her from sexual harassment.

Paula Parrish, an administrator at the college, caught Harold Jones on a Web cam masturbating in her office and then touching items on her desk, including gum.

Jones, 68, was arrested last month on a felony food-tampering charge based on General Statutes Section 14-101.11, which prohibits anyone from knowingly distributing any edible substance that contains any other substance that could be damaging to another person's heath.

Parrish has claimed that Jones and one of her superiors were harassing her and that the incidents were swept under the rug.

The college gave Jones, who was a maintenance worker, the option to retire after Parrish filed a complaint with the school. When it did not pursue a criminal investigation, Parish pursued her complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and then, last month, to Smithfield police.

Gordon Woodruff, an attorney for the college, has said administrators there took immediate action upon receiving the complaint about Jones. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed.

Jones has said that he is embarrassed by his behavior and that he does not know why he did what he did.