INSTRUCTOR SEEKS COSTS OF SEX SUIT.
VALENCIA - Cleared of sexual harassment allegations by the state chancellor, a former speech teacher at College of the Canyons is asking the campus to reimburse him for legal fees and lost wages.
Fred Martin is seeking $52,700 to cover legal fees, back wages and medical expenses incurred since he was placed on administrative leave in March 1999, when the allegations surfaced. He was not hired back for the fall semester.
``I've been through three separate investigations,'' Martin said Wednesday. ``It's cost me a lot of money to defend myself.''
District officials confirmed they had received the claim, filed March 23, but refused to elaborate.
``He has filed a claim, and we are going to put it through our normal channels,'' said Anita Morris, the college's dean of personnel. ``It will go through the review process. They are private actions until they are public.''
Martin was placed on leave after student Kelly Friscia, assisted by feminist attorney Gloria Allred, filed a sexual harassment claim against him. She allegedly that Martin created a ``sexually charged, hostile environment'' when he allowed another student to present a how-to speech about oral sex.
Friscia immediately asked for a transfer to another class.
Morris was cleared of wrongdoing during an initial investigation conducted by two administrators, a faculty member, Morris and an investigator experienced with sexual harassment claims in college settings. Students in Martin's class were interviewed as part of the committee's investigation.
Friscia appealed to the college board of trustees, which also determined Martin had done nothing wrong.
Friscia and Allred appealed the decision to the chancellor of California Community Colleges. In April, he issued a ruling upholding the college board's decision.
Each investigation found that the conduct was not severe or persuasive enough to cause a reasonable college-aged female to drop the class.
Martin's attorney, Susan P. Strick, said her client has taught speech and theater at various locations for 25 years and never before had been accused of sexual harassment.
``He was a very well-liked part-time instructor,'' Strick said. ``He has gotten just rave reviews.''