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Sexual Harassment At LA Charter Schools Settled For $1.4 Million

Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Charter Schools spent over a million dollars to resolve three sexual harassment lawsuits that targeted illegal behavior by Fernando Pullum, a former performing arts teacher and namesake of one of the schools. Pullum left the Charter Schools group last year and the school that formerly bore his name was rolled into another campus and renamed.

An assistant to Pullum from 2008 to 2009 alleged that he consistently bragged about sexual conquests and forced her to watch him in a sex tape. She further alleged that Pullum had sex with another teacher with whom she was sharing a room during an overseas band trip and would not let her leave the shared hotel room. After complaining to ICEF management, the assistant was fired within a week.

Two former dance teachers also asserted sexual harassment claims against Pullum after becoming involved in physical relationships with him. One noted that Pullum had threatened to withhold her paycheck if she refused to have sex with him. After telling Pullum that she would report him for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior, Pullum reportedly threatened to fire the dance teacher.

Allegations of the three sexual harassment victims are available in court documents but each signed a confidentiality agreement related to their settlements. Pullum denied any wrongdoing and ICEF did not admit to any wrongdoing in the settlements.

The ICEF Charter Schools have been in financial trouble for awhile, nearly closing several times. The Foundation independently operates 13 publicly-funded charter schools in the L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD).

Source: LA Times, "Debt-ridden ICEF spent nearly $1.4 million on harassment claims," Howard Blume, June 24, 2012

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