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Just days apart from each other, two complaints have been lodged in New Jersey Superior Court charging allegations of gay discrimination in both Lakewood and Manchester townships, a FAA News investigation reveals.

The pair of complaints reveal allegations that employees were fired from their jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The legal filings highlights that where anti-gay animosity ran freely, anti-semitic animosity similarly ran freely.

One lawsuit, filed by Kathleen Boody, alleges that she, as well as another employee, were discriminatorily fired from Georgian Court University, a Roman Catholic college in Lakewood, because of their age and sexual orientation.

"Although the college administration maintains that Plaintiff’s termination was merely part of a reduction-in-force, it turns out that the supposed ‘RIF’ was initially a pretext for firing the two older workers who were homosexual," the complaint, filed by Somerville attorneys Mark S. Anderson, Randall J. Peach, and Steven B. Lieberman, asserts.

The court filings reveals that the college terminated both women after they came out as lesbians.

"As a result of her termination, Plaintiff has incurred devastating losses, which include lost wages, benefits and other economic damages, as well as emotional distress, mental anguish and humiliation, and the loss of her civil rights, among other damages," the suit states.

A second complaint, filed today by former Manchester Schools Superintendent John Berenato, reveals similar explosive anti-gay allegations as the real basis for his firing.

According to the complaint filed by Hackensack attorney Adam J. Kleinfeldt Esq., "caving to local political pressure to prevent those with different sexual orientations from having equal access to township schools and their administration, and motivated by its own discriminatory animus toward gay persons, Defendant Manchester Township Board of Education and most of its Board members searched for any reason to rid itself of the openly-gay superintendent that the prior Board had hired.

"After multiple pretextual efforts to “dig up dirt” on Plaintiff, and in its haste to carry out its unlawful discriminatory bias against Plaintiff because of his sexual orientation, the Defendants fired Plaintiff for illogical reasons and completely violated Plaintiff’s procedural due process rights and statutory law mandating a notice and hearing.... The Board began searching for any reason to terminate Plaintiff and his contract, and never intended to provide him with any procedural due process protections to defend against any allegations of wrongdoing."

The complaint is replete with allegations that from the inception of the recruitment process, certain members of the Manchester Township community - including influential individuals working within the District, the local educational association, and Board members (and future Board members who were elected after Plaintiff commenced employment) - expressed open hostility and bias toward Berenato because he is openly gay.

The anti-gay discriminatory bias present amongst influential staff, the Manchester Township Educational Association ("MTEA"), and Board members was rampant. This animus was openly expressed by some members of the community and reinforced on social media pages, including that of the MTEA.

Allegations include the following:

• During the first time that Board President Gayle Mount met with Berenato, she suggested to him that his sexual orientation was a voluntary choice and that she could not understand why he did not “choose an easier life” by “deciding” to just be straight.

• Upon learning that Mr. Berenato was married and had a daughter, Ms. Mount expressed surprise that gays were allowed to adopt children.

• It was openly discussed that there was fear Berenato would be pushing some sort of “gay agenda.” The scuttlebutt was false, but nevertheless reflected a discriminatory animus against Berenato that was eventually endorsed by subsequently elected Board members who voted to unlawfully terminate him under pretextual circumstances.

• The MTEA, led by executive Board President Dan Staples, openly opposed Berenato from the inception of his employment. The MTEA and its opposition to Berenato’s employment was largely motivated by his sexual orientation. In fact, at the meeting when Berenato was appointed as Superintendent, Mr. Staples was seen talking with a group of district employees and community members after the meeting, at which time one person said: “I can’t believe they hired a faggot." The group and Mr. Staples began laughing as both agreed with the statement. This event was witnessed by Berenato and others.

Because of Berenato’s sexual orientation, Mr. Staples had referred to him as a “freakshow” on more than one occasion.

• On multiple occasions, Ms. Diane Pedroza (Director of Curriculum and now Interim Superintendent), referred to Berenato’s prior employment and claimed he advanced policies that were “too gay” and were unacceptable in Manchester Township.

• Ms. Pedroza made a series of other such statements demonstrating her animosity toward hid sexual orientation. When Berenato brought in quiches during a birthday celebration, Ms. Pedroza – in front of others - commented that: “It started with real men wearing pink, but now I guess real men make quiches.” On another occasion, Ms. Pedroza asked Berenato if he played with Barbies when he was a child, because he is gay. 

• When Berenato attended the funeral of Pedroza’s father, Pedroza’s uncle approached him and stated: “So you are the Mary that beat my niece for the superintendent role.” Pedroza thought the comment was funny.

• Mr. Dennis Adams, a Principal at the High School, is also a pastor at the local Evangelistic church, and is very close with Ms. Pedroza and Ms. Evelyn Swift (Principal at Whiting School). He too, openly expressed condemnation against homosexual persons. At one point he openly opposed the use of a transgender substitute teacher at the High School level in the District and stated it would “send the wrong message” to students to have a transgender teacher. Mr. Adams then alleged – without any actual factual justification - that the teacher would “push” a “trans agenda” on students and try to indoctrinate them. His comments reflected his discriminatory animus toward Berenato, and others with different sexual orientations.

• In May 2022, the Gay Students’ Association (GSA) had a fundraiser with pride T-Shirts and clothing. Mr. Adams became visibly angry with Berenato for purchasing a shirt for the GSA to raffle off to a student, and expressed that Berenato was “supporting his people." Adams’ belief and this information was provided to Board members, who criticized Berenato for his support of the GSA.

• Ms. Swift was open about her discriminatory belief toward homosexuals and Mr. Berenato. She expressed to Berenato that it must have been hard for his parents when he came out of the closet, because she would not be able to accept it if one of her kids were gay.

• Prior to his appointment to a Board seat in late 2023, Mr. Timothy Poss (who is also a Police Sergeant with the Pemberton Borough Police Department), expressed to Berenato that he was hit on by gay people because of his physique. The comment was odd and inappropriate.

The complaint also reveals explosive allegations that sexual orientation was not the only topic against which board members demonstrated their animosity.

"Reflective of the discriminatory atmosphere and the lack of meaningful anti-discrimination policies in the District, Ms. Mount also made a series of other discriminatory comments about Jews and other minorities in the community. She referred to Jews in the community as “Daddies’ friends” and “free loaders.” She referred to minority residents of the community who were ESL or who received free or reduced-price lunch as “dirt bags” and that since she had to pay for preschool for her children, that the “dirt-bags” should also have to pay (and not receive a program providing preschool)."

Likewise, "after being appointed to the Board, Mr. Poss attempted to extort Berenato, threatening to commence criminal action against him if he did not resign from his position. This was odd since Mr. Poss had previously approached Berenato seeking to create a private investigator position in an effort to get “those people” (referring to Jews and Hispanics) out of Manchester. Poss also explored whether Berenato would create a new position so that it could be given to Poss’ friend.

Berenato’s lawsuit asserts that "a result of Defendants’ discriminatory termination of Plaintiff, Plaintiff has experienced, and will continue to experience a loss of salary and other benefits, emotional distress, stress, and anxiety." The suit demands judgment and seeks compensatory damages for loss of wages (back pay and front pay) and other employment benefits; compensatory damages for emotional distress including, but not limited to psychological harm, stress, humiliation, mental anguish, and damage to reputation; punitive damages; attorneys’ fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, and costs of suit; and such other relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate under the circumstances.

The defendants have 35 days to answer the complaints.

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Haim said...

These low lives are using the anti-semitic card to support gay Agenda

Like this, the religious jews will not oppose, as they will not want to be seen That's supporting antisemitism.

Cohen Y said...

Even if they are anti-semitic ,Let's join them.The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Reb Yaakov was asked by Reb YL(an older acquaintance of my father) when a situation as it comes up that a orthodox jews in an area have a choice between two government representatives-one who is good for Jews [and/or jewish himself/herself]; speaks positive for Jews; helps out the community; but supports immoral topics against the Torah vs another one who is not supportive of the Jewish community and Israel, however is a moral, decent human being & better for morality. Which candidate should the Jewish community support? Reb Yaakov answered “nein, nein” even were one person running for the government anti-semitic while the first candidate is good for the Jewish community and strongly pro-Israel, we should be on the side of the anti-semite!