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Dominic Caserta Remains on Paid Leave, Investigation Continues

Santa Clara Unified School District’s (SCUSD) investigation into high school teacher and former Santa Clara City Council Member Dominic Caserta continues, despite rumors to the contrary.

“The investigation has not been completed and is still open,” said District Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp. “The fact gathering could not be completed prior to the initiation of Mr. Caserta’s litigation against the District due to his medical leave of absence and because of his disagreement related to processes associated with the investigation protocol. The District anticipates that parts of the investigation will likely now be wrapped into the litigation.”

That means Caserta’s status on the District payroll will likely to remain status quo until the legal battle can play out.

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“Dominic Caserta continues to be on paid administrative leave,” said Dr. Kemp. “We cannot project an end date or make further comment on this case at this time due to the pending litigation.”

“The District takes seriously its legal obligations to protect the rights of its employees and the interests of its students, including preventing and minimizing costs and liabilities that could adversely affect the District’s educational program,” Dr. Kemp said in a separate statement released to The Weekly. “An administrative leave is a common human resources practice to ensure a fair investigation and compliance with due process.”

Caserta was placed on paid administrative leave last year. He filed a lawsuit against SCUSD on April 29.

SCUSD’s case will be handled by the law firm of Davis & Young, the firm hired by the District’s insurance joint powers agency.

In the lawsuit, Caserta has accused SCUSD of a number of violations including breach of contract, public disclosure of private facts, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Caserta claims the district illegally emailed parts of his personnel file to an email list that included all district employees.

He says the contents of that file — which included accusations by two students who say Caserta made unwanted physical contact with them — did irreparable harm to his professional and political career.

Caserta claims the release of the file caused him to lose his part-time teaching position at Foothill/De Anza College and forced him to resign his position on the Santa Clara City Council and end his candidacy for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.

Earlier this month, San Jose Inside reported Foothill/De Anza College completed its personnel probe into allegations a 21-year-old German exchange student named Lydia Jungkind made against Caserta.

Jungkind accused Caserta of sexual harassment and said the junior college instructor touched her inappropriately and made sexual comments to her on numerous occasions. According to San Jose Inside, the results of the probe found that…“Mr. Caserta’s actions crossed the line of normal and acceptable behavior.”

The Weekly has requested a copy of the investigation summary, but has so far received no details from Foothill/De Anza College.

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