Police – Accident – Death – Obituary News : The Carmel Unified School District (CUSD) has faced a tumultuous year, as multiple leaders have been forced out, unexpected resignations have occurred, and a growing list of lawsuits has emerged. In the past few months, three lawsuits have been filed against the district, two of which involve allegations of sexual harassment. The two women who filed these lawsuits, known only as Jane Doe 1 and 2, spoke with KSBW 8 and requested to remain anonymous.
Both women allege that they experienced sexual harassment within the CUSD that was severe and had lasting negative effects. Jane Doe 1 claims that she was subjected to inappropriate and sexually harassing comments made by Roel Martinez, a former lead custodian in the school district. Martinez allegedly made sexual innuendos and vulgar remarks about women and female students. Jane Doe 1 recounts an incident in which Martinez made a crude comment about sitting on a balance ball, asking her if she wanted to sit on his “balls.” Martinez’s behavior, according to Jane Doe 1, was constant and degrading.
Jane Doe 2, in a separate lawsuit, also accuses Martinez of sexual and verbal harassment. She claims that Martinez once found a pair of girl’s panties while cleaning out the girls’ locker room and threw them at her, telling her to try them on. Another incident involved Martinez allegedly spanking Jane Doe 2. She also alleges that she suffered sexual harassment from another supervisor, Gustavo Alvarado, who is still employed by the district. Alvarado allegedly made advances towards Jane Doe 2, suggesting that she become his mistress in order to receive preferential treatment in terms of overtime and workload.
Both women assert that when they reported the harassment to district leadership, their concerns were not taken seriously. Jane Doe 2 claims that when she tried to explain what was happening, she was interrupted and prevented from fully expressing herself. Instead of addressing the issue, the district attempted to transfer Martinez to another school. Jane Doe 1 confronted current school board member Karl Pallestrini about the lack of repercussions for Martinez, to which he allegedly responded that she needed to “get over it.”
A Title IX investigation conducted by Carmel High School’s then-principal Jon Lyons concluded that the district could have handled the matter more appropriately. However, the accusations made by Jane Doe 2 were not investigated under Title IX, and she claims that she was fired from her position after making her complaint.
The women are seeking restitution from the district, emphasizing that their cases are not solely about money, but about effecting change within the school district. They argue that the district has a culture of covering up sexual harassment rather than addressing and preventing it.
KSBW 8 reached out to the Carmel Unified School District for comment on the lawsuits, and interim Superintendent Sharon Ofek responded that the district cannot comment on pending litigation or confidential personnel matters. However, Ofek stated that the initial review of the complaints revealed factual inaccuracies.
These lawsuits shed light on a deeper history of alleged sexual harassment within the Carmel Unified School District, including allegations against a current school board member. Part 2 of the special report will air on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m..