Former principal sues city for assisting ex in revenge porn plot -

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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Former principal sues city for assisting ex in revenge porn plot

Former Queens principal Annie Seifullah, 39, is suing the city for gender discrimination. (DEBBIE EGAN-CHIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
A former Queens high school principal who says she was victimized with revenge porn by an ex-boyfriend — and then by the city school system — is taking the city to court for gender discrimination.
Annie Seifullah, 39, claims ex-boyfriend Robert Sofia planted private photos on her work laptop computer of her having sex, and then gave the images to school officials and the media in a twisted plot to ruin her career at Robert Wagner High School.
Even though an investigator believed that Sofia, the Long Island City school’s former PTA president, had in fact put the photos on Seifullah’s work laptop, the Education Department pushed ahead to dismiss her — for having the photos on her computer.
A hearing officer ultimately rejected the city’s attempt to fire Seifullah over the X-rated pics.
But in a decision issued Dec. 1, he suspended the single mom without pay for a year for failing to secure her laptop, as well as other, lesser offenses.
The infamous case grabbed headlines across the globe and prompted a city councilman to demand an investigation into the city’s handling of the matter.
Seifullah, who’s studying civil rights at the City University of New York law school, said the ordeal ruined her career as an educator — and nearly cost her everything.
The Department of Education “was an accomplice in my ex-boyfriend’s attack, and together they caused me years of trauma,” said Seifullah, who seeks unspecified damages from the city in a complaint filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
“They discriminated against me and tried to silence me,” she added. “But my fight for equality remains intact.”
Seifullah claims her ex-boyfriend sent private photos of her to school officials and the media in a sick scheme to ruin her career at Robert Wagner High School (pictured). (KEVIN C DOWNS/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
According to the suit, Seifullah was a rising star in the city schools when she ended a relationship with Sofia in 2014.
But after she dumped Sofia, she says, he took revenge by turning over a Department of Education-owned laptop with racy photos of Seifullah to authorities and reporting that she was having sex at school — a charge that was never substantiated.
Sofia, 47, also shared the pictures and his claims with a city newspaper that published one of the photos — an image of Seifullah in lingerie — on its cover.
City investigators determined the images came from a folder called “Annie Evidence” on the laptop. They also said it was “likely” Sofia created the folder, since no one but Sofia and Seifullah had access to the computer.
“Annie Seifullah’s vain attempts to vilify me via libelous and slanderous remarks are meritless. Everything alleged against her is absolutely true,” Sofia said. “Fortunately, the federal court system is quite different from a 3020-A hearing and, once accurate testimony and bona fide evidence is available to the court, the truth will prevail.”
Seifullah’s attorney, Carrie Goldberg, said the Department of Education “effectively became a de facto instrument of abuse for Ann’s vengeful ex. He threatened her that if she left, he’d destroy her. And then he made good on those promises.”
Schools spokesman Doug Cohen defended the city’s handling of the case and said the city Law Department would review the suit.
“Our talented team of professional investigators and attorneys acted appropriately,” Cohen said. “We stand by the findings of the investigation.” 

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