A Real Class Act

What happens when four women accuse a high school principal of sexual harassment? So far, not much.

The Metro-Dade Police report of this incident lists William Clarke as the victim. It states that Clarke told officers he was "visiting" Richelle Lee when they heard a loud noise outside. They stepped out and spotted Vincent Lee, who immediately fled. The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office did not file charges.

In January 1997, after the birth of her child, Miller filed a complaint with the district's EEEO. Solomon Stinson, by then chairman of the school board, learned of Miller's allegations. (He said he doesn't remember how.) "I happened to have known Sonja Miller for a good, long while," he noted in a deposition. "I was rather surprised that the allegation was being made." Stinson said he "personally spoke" to Miller to ask "if there was any way that I could assist her."

Stinson added that he knows William Clarke well. He described his relationship with Clarke as a "friendly relationship, supportive relationship, one of mentoring."

While investigating of Miller's complaint, EEEO director Rafael Urrutia wrote of a "pattern of allegations" against Clarke. Still, on March 27, 1997, Miller received a letter stating that the EEEO had found "insufficient evidence to substantiate the complaint."

In March 1997, Jacqueline Hazel filed her lawsuit in federal court. She still works as a teacher at Northwestern.

Sonja Renee Miller was ready to return from her maternity leave in February 1997, but didn't go back to Northwestern. Instead she worked part-time at Miami Central High School, then full-time as a secretary in the office of the principal at Lake Stevens Middle School, where she works today. In January of this year, she filed her federal lawsuit.

As the Hazel and Miller suits move ahead, yet another woman has come forward to accuse Clarke. On June 10, 1998, Northwestern language arts teacher Judy A. Jones filed a complaint with the district's EEEO office. Other than claiming sexual harassment against Clarke and assistant principal Raul Orta, the complaint itself is devoid of details and Jones has declined comment.

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