Fired Virginia Teacher Ordered to Pay Sanctions

Published: January 10, 2006

WASHINGTON – A North Virginia teacher who was acquitted of charges he sexually abused a student has lost his bid to get his job back. He has also been ordered to pay damages to the defendants he sued.

David Perino filed eight lawsuits against his former employer, the Prince William County school system, and several of its employees who testified against him in board grievance hearings in an effort to clear his name and recoup lost income from being fired as a result of the charges.

All of the cases were dismissed, and the judge hearing the case ordered sanctions against him and his attorney Pamela Cave, claiming the lawsuits constituted harassment. Perino and Cave were ordered to pay more than $14,000 to cover the school system’s legal fees.

Perino believed that because he had been acquitted at trial, statements made by his colleagues and supervisors during his disciplinary hearings were defamatory.

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School officials disagreed, saying the district employees’ comments were privileged because they were used within the context of employment hearings. The school system’s representatives persuaded the judge hearing the case that Perino’s litigation was intended to harass his former colleagues, supervisors and employer.

The dispute began when a 20-year-old mentally handicapped student accused Perino of trying to sodomize her in his empty classroom. His first trial resulted in a hung jury, but his second trial resulted in an acquittal.

Perino and Cave say they will appeal the judge’s decision.

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