A former counselor at Marathon Middle/High School has agreed to drop her sexual harassment and retaliation complaint against the Monroe County School District in exchange for $6,500 and a letter of apology from the superintendent.
Kristen Butcher, a school district employee since 2009, last year accused Marathon Principal Hammon Gracy of harassing her in the workplace after drunkenly hitting on her at a Duval Street bar in June 2011.
Gracy denied all wrongdoing and was later cleared of all four formal complaints, which included sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.
However, then interim-Superintendent Jesus Jara suspended Gracy for three days without pay after agreeing with administrator Theresa Axford's report that Gracy needed to brush up on management skills and appreciate "thoughtful dissent."
In August, though, Butcher filed a charge of discrimination against the district with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Each side agreed to mediation talks, which produced a proposed settlement April 8.
The settlement, which became public after the School Board approved the three-page resolution at its July 30 meeting, saved the district costs of a lawsuit and "resolves the matter amicably," Superintendent Mark Porter wrote in a memo.
"When I came here this situation was already in the hands of our legal department and I followed their guidance in getting this resolved," Porter said on Monday. "It has now been finally resolved."
Porter said he will write an apology on behalf of the district to Butcher, who in turn agreed to sign a "non-disparagement" clause along with Gracy.
"We haven't received the check yet," said attorney Kim Hastings, of Estero, Fla., who represents Butcher, on Monday.
Butcher filed an 18-page complaint with the district and an internal investigation found 10 employees who said Gracy behaved inappropriately as a manager at the school.
Employee Robin Lynne reported that Gracy was "acting like a seventh-grade boy who has a crush on (Butcher), falling all over himself."
Yet 18 employees vouched for Gracy as a professional and blamed the complaint on gossip run amok.
Gracy, whose 34-year education career contains no prior disciplinary reports, worked his way up through the ranks at Duval County schools before taking the Marathon principal job in 2011.
As part of his defense to the sexual harassment complaint in 2012, Gracy told the district that he has been married for more than 30 years while Butcher has been divorced more than once.
"In light of the allegations, it would be appropriate to consider the conduct of my accuser," Gracy wrote.
Jara signed off on Axford's conclusion that Gracy's conduct did not rise to the legal definition of sexual harassment or creating a hostile work environment.