CUNY AND HOSTOS Community College Sued For Years’ Long Pattern And Practice Of Ignoring Janitor’s Supervisor’s Sexual Assaults And Harrassments Of Female Employees
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kristina Welsh v. Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College; the City University Of New York; and Julio Centeno
(Bronx Co. Sup. Ct. Index Nos. 816390/2023E and 815068/2023E)
CUNY AND HOSTOS COMMUNITY COLLEGE SUED FOR YEARS’ LONG PATTERN AND PRACTICE OF IGNORING JANITOR SUPERVISOR’S SEXUAL ASSAULTS AND HARASSMENTS OF FEMALE EMPLOYEES
On October 18, 2023, Kristina Welsh (“Plaintiff”) sued her former employers, the City University of New York (“CUNY”) and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College (“Hostos”), which is located in Bronx, New York, for sexual harassment and discrimination, under New York State’s and New York City’s anti-discrimination statutes, Executive Law § 296, et seq., and Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-107, et seq.
According to the filed complaint, Plaintiff was employed as a janitor at Hostos for over three years. The complaint alleges that for nearly two years Plaintiff was repeatedly sexually assaulted and harassed by her supervisor, Julio Centeno (“Mr. Centeno”), before she was forced to quit. Notably, Plaintiff alleges that she was just one of at least five women at Hostos who were sexually assaulted and harassed by Mr. Centeno. Plaintiff alleges that before she was sexually assaulted and harassed by Mr. Centeno, administrators at CUNY and Hostos, including Hostos’ former Director of Human Resources, had either witnessed or received complaints by Mr. Centeno’s numerous prior victims, but took no measures to protect Plaintiff and other victims from Mr. Centeno.
Plaintiff further alleges that Mr. Centeno repeatedly groped her, without her consent, by grabbing her breasts, squeezing her buttocks, and kissing her lips. The Complaint alleges that before Mr. Centeno sexually assaulted and harassed Plaintiff, CUNY and Hostos administrators had been informed of multiple incidents where Mr. Centeno was accused of similarly sexually assaulting and harassing other women at Hostos. The Complaint alleges that Hostos’ Director of Human Resources witnessed Mr. Centeno inappropriately hugging one or more female employees. The Complaint alleges that, on separate occasions, Mr. Centeno blocked a second and a third woman from exiting an area and demanded that they hug and/or kiss him in order to secure their release. The Complaint alleges that fourth woman filed a lawsuit against Hostos which alleged, among other things, that Mr. Centeno had made inappropriate comments about her sexual orientation and relationships.
The Complaint alleges that Hostos and CUNY failed to adequately investigate these prior incidents, failed to adequately discipline Mr. Centeno, and failed to take adequate measures to protect Plaintiff and other women from becoming Mr. Centeno’s future victims. The Complaint further alleges that Hostos and CUNY tolerated, condoned, and/or otherwise permitted Mr. Centeno to sexually assault and harass female employees at Hostos.
Plaintiff’s lawsuit is currently pending in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Bronx County, before the Honorable Mitchell J. Danziger.
The Plaintiff is represented by the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner, P.C., in Chappaqua, New York. Mr. Krouner has experience representing victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination in schools and workplaces throughout the New York City metropolitan area.
A copy of the complaint is available at here. For further information, please contact the Law Office of Todd J. Krouner, P.C., at (914) 238-5800.