WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — Former employees of a Whittier Catholic school filed a lawsuit against the school, its administrators and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in connection with a man convicted of stalking the principal.
Attorney John Belcher, who is representing two St. Bruno Catholic School ex-workers and one on leave, said his clients were fired after they notified parents about safety concerns regarding Principal Catherine Carvalho’s longtime stalker, Ronald Martinez.
“They were terminated because they were whistleblowers,” he said. “You’re not going to be able to bludgeon staff and the parents into not expressing concerns about transparency.”
Last November, Joanne Saldana, one of the ex-teachers who filed the suit, sent out a mass email to parents about Martinez.
Saldana said the “deranged man,” Carvalho’s former high school classmate she had a restraining order against, showed up at the K-8 school, left packages on campus and mentioned death in his communications.
KCAL9’s Serene Branson said the Feb. 11 suit stated more instances Martinez was on campus, including the time he reportedly went to the school church and “proceeded to make reservations to book a wedding…arranged for an extravagant Hawaiian-style lei to be delivered.”
Martinez also allegedly posed as a court clerk and “left a message advising he had died in a car crash and that there was no need to renew the restraining order,” according to the suit.
Saldana said it was school policy not to inform students’ parents about the stalker, but she felt it was necessary for them to know.
Parents said they received backlash from the school once they questioned their children’s safety and called for Carvalho’s resignation.
Monique Mauk, who didn’t want to appear on-camera, said her two children were expelled after she and her husband signed a petition for the principal’s removal.
“We signed something…and you don’t like it…and then you’re going to use my kids as a pawn…thinking I’m going to take my name off of something…and fold?” she said.
Mauk added, “There’s no transparency. It’s way past (the) stalker. That was the beginning of the end.”
Branson said the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was unable to comment about the situation because of the pending litigation.