Swim Coach Sexually Harassed a Male Student

Pennsylvania – In 2013, Feeney began working at Malvern Preparatory School. The sexual harassment suit says, Feeney started sexually harassing a male student, William Beard, the following year. A sexual harassment lawsuit was filed in Chester County Common Pleas Court against Malvern Preparatory School, the ex-swim coach, and administration. The lawsuit reflects the sexual harassment that Beard, endured for more than a year from the female swim coach and guidance counselor, Emily Feeney.
Feeney was found guilty of sexually harassing and abusing the male student on the swim team. Based on the sexual harassment lawsuit, Feeney sent an enormous amount of “sexually suggestive emails and texts,” to Beard. She also sent a nude photo that revealed her breast to the student. Feeney’s sexual infatuation spread throughout the school. A social studies teacher informed the student that Feeney speaks about him like he’s her significant other and another faculty member stated that Feeney claimed the student “wanted to kiss her.”
The sexual harassment complaint explains that the administration and school failed to examine and investigate the complaint in order to identify the misconduct that Feeney engaged in with Beard on multiple occasions. Beard was on an athletic scholarship at the Catholic School. It’s very possible that Feeney was aware of the academic scholarship and the level of expectations that the student was “pressured” to uphold in order to keep his scholarship
The Catholic academic institution school leader, Christian Talbot, claims the school took action against Feeney as soon as they learn about her alleged wrongdoings. The Malvern Prep School leader stated, “In May 2015, after learning of the inappropriate actions by Emily Feeney, the administration took immediate steps to notify the appropriate authorities and place Ms. Feeney on administrative leave.”
After Feeney was placed on an administrative leave, the school decided that Feeney services will no longer be needed and she will not be returning to the school as an employee. Any employed individual who works in an academic facility have no reason to sexually harass a student.
According the school leader, the Catholic School’s primary focus is “the safety and well-being of our students.” Although the student is no longer attending Malvern Prep, the Catholic school stated, “ The student who was affected is a bright young man and we have every confidence that he will go on to do great things.” It is good for a victim to have support from the place their sexual took place, and it aids the healing process. It also displays a level of empathy towards the seriousness of workplace sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment in an Academic Environment is Wrong

Faculty and staff members are trusted individuals in an academic environment. The sexual harassment experience that the student had was unfair and unacceptable. Beard wasn’t thrilled about any of the unwanted physical contact that Feeney approached him with behind closed doors. In December 2014, Beard was sexually harassed in Feeney’s office. The sexual harassment suit indicates that “she sat on Beard’s lap and kissed him” along with an attempt to have sexual relations.”
The Malvern Preparatory School should consider enforcing a strict policy and discipline for employees who attempt to sexually harass a student, co-worker, supervisor, or anyone affiliated with the school. Beard’s sexual harassment lawyer explains the school moved too slowly in terms of addressing the sexual harassment case and terminating Feeney. The school didn’t let Feeney go until after the prosecution joined the team. The sexual harassment suit defined Feeney’s behavior as “abhorrent and improper,” which reflects the school sound judgment as leaders in academia.
Although time has passed, and Beard is presently an adult, the sexual harassment is still affecting him. The sexual harassment suit notes that Beard is attending counseling for his distressing experience and seeking damages from Malvern Prep and several individuals who played a role in his negative experience including “the head of School, Christian Talbot, swim coach Peter Lee, Feeney, registered sex offender, and the Malvern Swim Association.”
Feeney’s statement of remorse said, “was a huge mistake and unlawful.” The Malvern Prep School decided not to comment. As the pending lawsuit moves forward, one can only hope Beard receives the justice he deserves.
If you have ever been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace in New York City, Miami, New Jersey, or Philadelphia, contact our New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our sexual harassment lawyers are thoroughly skilled in the field of employment law. They can help you sort through you case, explain which laws protect you in an academic environment including Title VII and Title IX, provide solutions to unanswered questions and deliver the best legal representation. For more information on sexual harassment and employment law, read our Employment Law Blog.

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If you feel you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment in New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, then you should immediately contact the NYC, NJ, PA sexual harassment lawyers at the employment law firm of DEREK T. SMITH LAW GROUP, PLLC. No one deserves a hostile work environment.
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