Posted by Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C. in News
Jun 23 2022
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – A former Middletown school administrator has taken legal action against the district’s former superintendent. During his tenure, Dr. Enza Macri claims she endured years of sexual harassment by him and nothing was done to stop it.
As the Associate Superintendent for Middletown Public Schools and a longtime employee with the district, Macri said she was initially “thrilled” when Dr. Michael Conner was named superintendent in November of 2017.
Macri claims in a federal lawsuit, that within weeks of him starting this new role, Conner began mistreating female employees by publicly berating them and making comments about their physical appearance.
The lawsuit claims Conner “repeatedly professed his sexual feelings for Dr. Macri and told her he was in love with her.” Macri also recounted an alleged incident in which she was trapped in his office and not allowed to leave until she gave him a kiss. She alleged that she “turned her face quickly” when he leaned in for a kiss and his “lips landed on her cheek, very close to her lips.”
Macri, who’s now the superintendent of Cromwell Public Schools, said she repeatedly made verbal complaints to members of the Middletown Board of Education and school district. But she said no action was taken.
“Dr. Macri suffered from such severe mental and physical distress that she had no choice but to leave the job and community she loved in order to escape the abuse,” read the lawsuit. She also alleged she faced retaliation after Conner found out about her complaints.
News 8 reached out to Conner about this lawsuit. He said the allegations are “baseless” and were “intentionally fabricated as part of a plan to remove me from the Office of the Superintendent.”
An outside investigation commissioned by the Board of Education concluded that Conner “more likely than not… made romantic and sexual statements and advances towards a senior administrator that were unwelcome.”
Conner resigned in May of 2022, but he said his resignation was not a result of these allegations and investigation.
The Middletown Board of Education, when asked about this lawsuit, said they do not comment on pending litigation.
“Dr. Macri did not work for the City, and at no point prior to the allegations becoming public was the City aware of them,” said Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim.
On Thursday, News 8 spoke with Attorney Nina Pirrotti, who’s representing Macri. She said they stand by the allegations in the complaint and Macri felt strongly these allegations needed to come to light.