Natasha Phillip had a problem. A few months into her new teaching job at Grace Academy International in Opa-locka, she got sick. As her absences piled up, administrators told her she couldn't afford more. Then the principal, Gerald Ealey, approached her with a solution: If she "took care of him," she could keep her job.
According to a lawsuit Phillip has filed against the school, "taking care of" Ealey meant a forced sexual relationship from 2008 to 2011 in which he harassed her and got her pregnant twice. When Phillip stopped the affair, she says, the school canned her.
The school's lawyer, James Greason, says Phillip's claims are ridiculous. "There's no merit to it. To say this was not consensual? That to me is beyond belief."
Ealey, who is not named as a defendant in the suit, was fired after the school learned of the affair, Greason says. The Miami Gardens-based Greater Harvest International Church lists Ealey as its bishop on its website. He didn't respond to several messages left at the church.
In her suit, Phillip claims Ealey told her if "she ever reported his misconduct to any other person at the school, that... it would only result in her immediate termination." Twice, in 2009 and 2010, he got her pregnant, she says, and both times she used Ealey's money to pay for abortions.
Ealey also sent Phillip regular lewd texts, dozens of which are recorded in the suit. On March 1, 2011, for instance, he texted, "I don't want to stick my... in you, but I wanna lick you so bad," adding, "and when I'm done, I'm gonna drink your bath water." Later that same day, he texted, "Give me those panties that you have on."
In early 2011, the lawsuit states, Phillip told Ealey the relationship was over. Then, in June, the school's administration informed her that her contract would not be renewed.
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But Greason says Phillip lost her job because of staff cuts. He also says the school is filing a countersuit, claiming she breached her contract through her behavior.
"She was doing this during school hours," Greason says. "We want our money back, because she didn't earn it. She was a flirtatious woman having a good time at the school's expense."