Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bridgeton Board of Education pays $75,000 to settle lawsuit alleging racist, sexually harassing comments.

On January 20, 2012, the Bridgeton Board of Education (Cumberland County) agreed to pay $75,000 to a former Bridgeton school guidance counselor who claimed that her supervisor, Robert Cwik, sexually harassed and racially discriminated against her.  She also claimed that school principal Lynn Williams ignored her complaints about Cwik's alleged conduct.

In her suit, Angela Combs made some very specific and graphic allegations regarding Cwik's conduct and comments.  Those who will not be offended by these allegations are invited to read them in paragraph 23 of Comb's complaint, which is on-line at the link below.

The case is captioned Combs v. Bridgeton Board of Education, Cumberland County Superior Court Docket No. L-1069-08.  Combs' attorney was Kevin M. Costello of Cherry Hill.  Case documents are on-line here.

None of Combs' allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $75,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Bridgeton Board of Education or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Bridgeton Board of Education or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Combs $75,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.