While Marathon High in the Keys takes a summer break, details of allegations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment levied in May against Principal Hammond Gracy by guidance counselor Kristin Butcher could linger for some time.
Following interviews with 27 school employees, Monroe County Superintendent Jesus Jara put Gracy on three days of unpaid suspension, to be served this week.
Personnel files indicate Gracy and Butcher's problem started on what she describes as a quiet day in the Southernmost City with her boyfriend, Johnny Briggs, on June 11, 2011. She said it deteriorated when Gracy got drunk and his libido kicked into high gear.
In his 22-page statement (not including seven photos he gleaned from Butcher's Facebook page), Gracy doesn't specifically address Butcher's numerous and specific allegations of what happened that day.
"I do not intend to dignify Ms. Butcher's allegations about my trip to Key West in the summer of 2011 by discussing the details of her allegations, most of which are not true."
Butcher told district officials she and Briggs were set to leave Key West around 5 p.m. after hanging out at Dante's on Caroline Street when Gracy called and asked to meet up for a drink. They did, at Captain Tony's on Greene Street.
"He first 'confessed' to us that when he drinks, he smokes and that we could never tell anyone," Butcher told district officials. "Then he said he had a second confession, that was that he likes cold women and hot beer. He repeated that often."
Butcher also says Gracy reflected on when he was hired to the $105,000 annual post in June 2010: After a night of partying in Key West, "He said that the next morning, when he was going into the interview, he was sweating from the alcohol and was shaky.
"He said that he didn't expect to get the job and had grabbed a folder to carry in with him just to have something in his hands. He said that he barely remembered what they asked him but that he must've said something right, and was surprised that they hired him."
The next stop was the now-closed Bobalu's on Southard Street, where Butcher says Gracy insisted on dancing with her numerous times, but most memorably when the band struck up a rendition of Smoky Robinson's My Girl.
"This was the longest three minutes of my life," Butcher recalls. During dinner, "Gracy kept rubbing my leg with his," all in front of Briggs.
Butcher says they then went to the Bull and Whistle on Duval Street.
"He insisted we go to the rooftop where it's clothing optional [called the Garden of Eden]. He looked like he was in the Promised Land. He asked me to take my top off -- more than once. Gracy's facial expression was creepy and disturbing. We ditched him."
"I remember saying to Johnny, 'What do I do now? How do I face him on Monday?'"
In his May 22 statement, Gracy describes himself as a family man: "I have been married to the same woman for 30 years. We have three lovely daughters. I moved to this school district because it afforded me the opportunity to spend more time with my family in what I thought would be a more wholesome environment."
He then contrasts that with Butcher, whom he says "has been married and divorced five times. I find it ironic that a woman who cannot maintain personal relationships has seen fit to diagnose me with a personality disorder."
Of the day in Key West on June 11, 2011, Gracy says, "I was planning on celebrating the [school] year end in Key West." Butcher told him she would be there "and invited me to give her a call when I was down there."