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Sarasota County Approves $305,000 Payout In Sexual Harassment Case

A meeting of the Sarasota School Board in 2019, when then superintendent Todd Bowden faced pressure to resign amid allegation he did not take swift action to discipline Jeff Maultsby, accused of sexually harassing employee Cheraina Bonner.
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday voted to award a $305,000 settlement to an employee who said she was sexually harassed by her boss.

Cheraina Bonner is an administrative assistant with Sarasota County schools. She accused former chief operating officer Jeff Maultsby of inappropriate behavior last year. Maultsby later resigned.

The case was at the center of outcry over the former Sarasota Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden, who was accused of not acting quickly enough to take disciplinary action against Maultsby, Bowden’s top deputy.

Bowden resigned from the superintendent’s post in December. A separate sexual harassment case involving Bowden, which dates back to 2015, is scheduled to go on trial in May.

Lyna Jimenez-Ruiz, a former school district administrator, alleges that Bowden made unwanted sexual advances toward her in 2015, then took retaliatory action that led her to lose her position as assistant principal at Booker High School.

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Kerry Sheridan is a reporter and co-host of All Things Considered at WUSF Public Media.