Steven Van Gorden, Zephyrhills, Florida (resigned Nov 2012) [sexual harassment]

Discussion in 'Hanky Panky' started by TMP, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. TMP

    TMP Himself

    Van Gorden Steven.jpg

    Steven Van Gorden, 37, principal at Zephyrhills High School [Pasco County School District], Zephyrhills, Florida, "sexual harassment"

    Previous positions:
    Tampa Tribune: Zephyrhills High principal placed on administrative leave (Oct 23 2012)

    The principal at Zephyrhills High School has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, but school district officials aren't revealing details of any complaints against him. Steve Van Gorden, who is also mayor of Zephyrhills, was placed on paid leave Friday, Assistant Superintendent Renalia DuBose said Tuesday. She said the investigation does not involve children or criminal activity, but declined to say more.

    Steven Van Gorden, Zephyrhills, Florida, Zephyrhills High School, Pasco County School District, Hudson Middle School, Hudson, Pasco Middle School, Dade City
  2. TMP

    TMP Himself

    Tampa Tribune: Zephyrhills High Principal Steve Van Gorden resigns (Nov 2012)

    Steve Van Gorden, the Zephyrhills High School principal who has been the subject of a Pasco County School District investigation, said Friday that he has decided to resign ... Van Gorden was placed on paid leave three weeks ago as the district launched its investigation into complaints about the principal. District officials would not reveal the nature of the investigation, other than to say it did not involve children or criminal activity. Van Gorden declined to discuss specifics of the investigation Friday.
  3. TMP

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    WTSP: High school principal Steven Van Gorden resigns amid investigation (Nov 2 2012)

    A high school principal [Steven Van Gorden] under investigation with the Pasco County School Board announced his resignation Friday ... At this point Employee Relations says its temporarily suspending its investigation since it received his resignation letter. Once the resignation is finalized and accepted by the Board, Employee Relations says it will determine if and how to conclude its investigation.
  4. TMP

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    Tampa Bay Times: Zephyrhills High principal resigns amid investigation (Nov 3 2012)

    Zephyrhills High School principal Steve Van Gorden resigned his position Friday, effective immediately.
    Van Gorden, who is also the mayor of Zephyrhills, had been under investigation at the school district for unspecified allegations since being placed on administrative leave Oct. 19 ... He declined to give details, saying that he is still trying to sort out his feelings after making the decision to quit the Pasco school district after nearly 16 years. He said he plans to continue serving as mayor and remain involved with other community groups. He is president of the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce and president-elect of the Zephyrhills Noon Rotary.
  5. TMP

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    Tampa Tribune: Steve Van Gorden resigns as Zephyrhills High School principal (Nov 3 2012)

    Steve Van Gorden, the Zephyrhills High School principal who has been the subject of a Pasco County School District investigation, said Friday that he has decided to resign ... Van Gorden became principal of Zephyrhills High in 2009 after serving previously as principal at Hudson Middle School.
  6. TMP

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    Bay News 9: EXCLUSIVE: Zephyrhills High School principal breaks silence since resigning (Nov 5 2012)

    Last week, [Steven] Van Gorden sent a letter of resignation to the Pasco School Board. He said he made and sent inappropriate flirting Facebook messages to some members of his staff. Van Gorden sat down exclusively with Bay News 9 Monday to talk about what happened. "Bottom line, I screwed up. I made some inappropriate things," Van Gorden said. "And I need to live and learn from that. And not do it again." Van Gorden, who is also the Mayor of Zephyrhills, couldn't tell us exactly what he said to his high school staff members because it's still under investigation. "The comments were innuendos and shouldn't have been put out there especially from a boss to a subordinate," Van Gorden said. Van Gorden said he is truly sorry for what he said. But he wanted to make it clear he never acted on any of the messages.
  7. TMP

    TMP Himself

    Tampa Tribune: Pasco district moves quickly to replace Zephyrhills High principal (Nov 5 2012)

    The Pasco County School District is moving quickly to put a new principal in place at Zephyrhills High to succeed Steve Van Gorden, who resigned in the middle of a district investigation into complaints against him. Andy Frelick, principal at Ridgewood High in New Port Richey, will be transferred to Zephyrhills, Assistant Superintendent Tina Tiede said today. The school board is scheduled to vote on Frelick's transfer, and Van Gorden's resignation, on Tuesday.
  8. TMP

    TMP Himself

    WTSP: Former Zephyrhills High School principal Steve Van Gorden speaks about resignation, sex allegations (Nov 6 2012)

    Years of alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. That's what school district officials say apparently sparked an investigation of the principal at Zephyrhills High School ... The investigative report, released by the Pasco School District, is more than 300 pages of records, letters, investigative notes and evidence. Some of the less-flattering comments go a long way in explaining why Van Gorden resigned his post as principal at Zephyrhills High School ... The investigation reveals at least three years of emails, text messages and Facebook comments with female subordinates. In some cases, the communications seek sexual favors referred to as "stress relief" and, occasionally, veiled promises of career advancement.

  9. TMP

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    Tampa Tribune: Zephyrhills High principal was accused of sexual harassment (Nov 7 2012)

    The investigation that led the Zephyrhills High School principal to resign involved sexual harassment claims against him, according to documents released Tuesday by the Pasco County School District. Steve Van Gorden was accused of making inappropriate comments about or advances toward several staff members at the school, records said. One woman said she took extreme measures to avoid Van Gorden, even going outside the building in the rain so "I wouldn't have to see him." According to those records, Van Gorden on numerous occasions made suggestive remarks to employees. On one occasion, he was reportedly intoxicated at a booster club fundraiser and told a school employee he would provide a favor for her in exchange for "alone time." "Work is extremely uncomfortable and an unhealthy environment for me," the woman said in a written statement she gave to the school district's employee relations department. One teacher said she was called to Van Gorden's office after she confided in a co-worker that she was being sexually harassed. In a statement, the woman said Van Gorden "stated he could fire me for making false accusations and this was a serious offense." "I left the meeting feeling frightened and concerned about my employment," the teacher wrote. "I felt belittled and very intimidated by Mr. Van Gorden." That teacher said a colleague told her that male teachers and Van Gorden often ranked female staff members by their physical appearance, and Van Gorden had said about her, "I would hit that."
  10. TMP

    TMP Himself

    There's so much in the report that the Tampa Tribune (above) and the Tampa Bay Times (here) chose complete different examples for their articles.

    Tampa Bay Times: Former Zephyrhills principal accused of 'unwanted advances' (Nov 7 2012)

    The Pasco County School Board officially accepted the resignation of Steve Van Gorden as Zephyrhills High School principal on Tuesday, releasing a 346-page investigative file detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment against him. Several school employees told investigators that Van Gorden, who also is the mayor of Zephyrhills, made unwanted sexual advances and comments toward them, creating an uncomfortable and threatening workplace. "It got to the point where I could not take it anymore," one woman told investigators. The situation was such that one male employee told district interviewers that he would "probably not" want his wife to work at Zephyrhills High with Van Gorden as principal, "Especially since she is good-looking." ... One woman, who accused Van Gorden of asking her to "do it" on his office desk, said the principal frequently spoke of women in crude manner ... Another employee said Van Gorden frequently made comments about one young teacher's breasts. And another employee told investigators that Van Gorden "consistently looked me up and down, particularly at my chest. … I chose to disregard his advances as I found them extremely inappropriate and they made me very uncomfortable." ... One time, she said, another employee inquired on the principal's behalf whether she would be interested in dating Van Gorden. She said no, and then found herself subjected to retaliation in the form of losing a classroom and being assigned as a floating teacher, among other things.
  11. TMP

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    Tampa Bay Times: Ex-principal Van Gorden should resign as Zephyrhills mayor (Nov 7 2012)

    Van Gorden, 37, now needs to do likewise with his other position of public trust. He should quit his role as mayor. He is unfit to represent the city, even if the mayor's position is largely ceremonial with no voting authority during council meetings. The city ambassador needs to be respected and Van Gorden's uncouth behavior as principal will tarnish the city as well. Witness accounts contained in the district's investigative file portray Van Gorden as a bully toward subordinate women who rejected his unwelcome sexual advances. The unseemly activity included using crude language to comment on women's figures, requesting sex acts and seeking a romantic quid pro quo from one aspiring administrator to whom Van Gorden acted as mentor.


    In submitting his resignation last week, Van Gorden told Tampa Bay Times staff writer Jeffrey Solochek he was sorry for his mistakes and that he "let my personal life jeopardize my judgment.'' He still doesn't get it. Van Gorden didn't jeopardize his judgment; he annihilated it. And, this is not about his personal life. It is about his professional conduct in which he created a hostile work environment by attempting to use his position of authority to obtain sexual gratification from subordinates. His behavior is disgraceful.
  12. TMP

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    Tampa Tribune: Ex-principal's post as Zephyrhills mayor, chamber head in jeopardy (Nov 7 2012)

    Sexual harassment allegations ended Steve Van Gorden's tenure as principal at Zephyrhills High, but he still holds two prominent roles in the community – mayor and president of the Chamber of Commerce ... Ken Compton, president of the city council, said today he has asked City Attorney Joe Poblick to look into whether there is any action the council can or should take regarding the Van Gorden case ... Meanwhile, Vonnie Mikkelson, executive director of the chamber, said she is consulting with the chamber's key leaders about what steps, if any, that organization should take.
  13. TMP

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  14. TMP

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    Huffington Post: Steve Van Gorden, Zephyrhills Mayor, Resigns As School Principal Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations [VIDEO] (Nov 8 2012)

    As no one has filed any criminal charges against him, Van Gorden's city job is not currently threatened, but the mayor may have a difficult time convincing the Zephyrhills community to let him stay in his leadership role. City Manager Jim Drumm tells WFTS that officials have received both calls of support and requests for resignation. Marcia Johnson, a Zephyrhills resident, told WTSP that it may be difficult for Van Gorden to regain the trust that he has lost. "Who's to say if his judgment in that area, which is such a sensitive area is so poor, how can you trust him to make any good decisions?" she asked.
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  16. TMP

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    CBS News: Florida principal resigns amid sex scandal; he's also the mayor (Nov 9 2012)

    A suburban Florida mayor has resigned as a high school principal after he allegedly harassed female staff members at the school, some of whom reportedly received offers of promotions in exchange for sex, CBS affiliate WTSP reports. Steve Van Gorden, 37, resigned from Zephyrhills High School last week after officials collected more than 300 pages of emails, text messages and Facebook comments with female subordinates over a three-year period.
  17. TMP

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    Tampa Tribune: Van Gorden's best course: Retreat, for now (Nov 11 2012)

    The school district's report of Steve Van Gorden's alleged misdeeds runs to 327 pages. Eighty percent of it, Van Gorden says, is bunk. OK, let's say he's right. That still leaves 65 pages of cringe-worthy charges that, evidently, even Van Gorden concedes are pretty much on the money — which was reason enough for him to resign as principal of Zephyrhills High School a couple of weeks back, rather than endure a disciplinary hearing before the Pasco County School Board. Which 65 pages got it right he hasn't said, but it scarcely matters.
  18. News Readers

    News Readers The Paperboy


    Zephyrhills High Principal (and Mayor) Steven Van Gorden: Sexually harassed female teachers

    Steven Van Gorden became Zephyrhills High School’s principal in 2009. Three years later, allegations of sexual harassment led to his departure from the school. A 346-page investigative file traced allegations against Van Gorden all the way back to his start at the school. Allegations said that he offered promotions in exchange for sex. Some excerpts from the Times then: [*]“They alleged various incidents, from Van Gorden frequently commenting about a young teacher’s breasts to asking one colleague if she would apply ‘creams or salves’ to arouse him.” [*]Female employees said that he intimidated them and made them feel powerless when ...

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