Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Touch of Clark

From the "Very Close to Home" desk, a lawsuit has broken alleging harassment against the wife of my former pastor. No, I'm not Protestant.
Janet M. DiGiovanni Sharp, Whitman's chief administrator for nearly 14 years, contends that several board members want her fired because she dated and recently married a former Roman Catholic priest.

The former priest, Kenneth Sharp, served on the Whitman board when he was pastor of Mount Carmel Church.

"If she wasn't Catholic, this [her marrying the former priest] would not be an issue [to the Whitman Council]," said Mrs. Sharp's attorney, Lynanne B. Wescott....

The suit, filed last Thursday in federal court, alleges that Robert Blackburn, one of three board members named as defendants in the civil action, complained in August 2004, in a call to the city's Office of Housing and Community Development, that she was "having an affair with a priest."

Just when the Ministry of Misinformation thought they'd be able to keep a lid on this one.... Ken Sharp was the fifth pastor the parish of my birth had been through in 14 years, and then came the fall. The people acquired a reputation for being so out of hand that Pharaoh had to name the succeeding pastor as episcopal vicar. Gratefully, he's gotten things on an even keel. But the period which preceded that was messy, nasty and no fun at all.

Look at the "tar the sinful woman" school of thought at work here. It's so... disgusting.

[B]oard members last year ordered an investigation of her conduct, asked her "personal, inappropriate questions" about her "private life" and threatened to fire her if she did not answer the questions, the lawsuit alleges.

The board authorized expenditures totaling $7,000 to investigate her conduct, money that should have been used for "the betterment of the community, not for investigations," her attorney contends.

Last December, according to the lawsuit, she injured her back at work while "lifting heavy food baskets" that were to be given out to needy families in the neighborhood.

"That injury combined with the mental stress put upon her by defendants caused" her "to be out of the office for several months."

She returned to work in June "and found that a younger woman had been hired to replace her," the suit states.

On her desk was the same list of questions and another warning that she'd be fired if she did not answer them.

If South Philly people weren't so noosy, this suit wouldn't be happening. Then again, anyone who's been here more than... um.. 6 hours knows this is not a community that never learns from its mistakes.

-30-

2 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

If the priest is laicized, I'm not sure I see the problem. If the priest is not laicized, I don't see why she shouldn't be summarily fired without any investigation at all.

16/8/05 15:19  
Blogger Joe T said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

26/11/05 10:54  

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