Toms River Regional schools superintendent David M. Healy has been accused of sexual harassment by a district employee, who filed a complaint against him through the teacher’s union.
The complainant, whose name was not shown in redacted documents sent late Tuesday night to Shorebeat, accuses Healy, 55, of making inappropriate comments to the employee, who works in guidance and served as the district’s scholarship coordinator. Healy is alleged to have commented on the woman’s legs, at one point stating that she and two other employees should have a contest to see who has the best legs.
A comment that is claimed to have preceded the “contest” remark, in which Healy allegedly said he was “distracted by [her] calves,” made other administrators at the event uncomfortable, the complaint states.
The unnamed employee is being represented in the matter by Steven R. Cohen, a Mount Laurel-based attorney, who is on retainer by the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s influential teacher’s union.
The complaint, filed June 22, details subsequent allegations of similar sexual harassment up to and including an incident as late as May 31, 2017.
In a Jan. 2017 incident, Healy allegedly said to the woman, “I see that you are still running.” In the May 2017 incident, also a district awards presentation, the employee claims Healy complimented her and a district principal afterwards but said the district “had forgotten one award, an award for the best legs.”
The employee, in a personal statement attached to the complaint, said before the May 31, 2017 ceremony, she changed her clothes numerous times and asked her husband to approve the length of her skirt in order to avoid remarks.
“I wanted to avoid this happening – somehow blaming myself for his comments,” she wrote in the statement, adding that the statements have occurred when the two were alone together as well as in front of other men.
The May 31 incident is alleged to have played out in front of a male principal, who the complaint said was visibly uncomfortable and tried to change the subject.
“He embarrassed me in front of my principal – someone whom I have a great relationship with and hold in the highest regard of professionalism,” the statement went on to say. “I came into work the next day so embarrassed.”
The Asbury Park Press, which first reported the story, said the school district’s law firm – Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle & Sacks – is representing Healy. Specifically, former Ocean County Assignment Judge Vincent Grasso is conducting an investigation into the matter to determine how to proceed.
Healy has served as superintendent of the district – one of the state’s largest – since 2014 and earns a salary of $207,900 per year.
The Toms River Regional Board of Education is meeting Wednesday night. The meeting had been scheduled before the allegations became public and it is unknown if the matter will be discussed in open or closed session. The meeting’s public portion begins at 7:30 p.m. at Toms River High School North.