Schenectady City School District changes course: Raucci probe details won't be released
SCHENECTADY The city school district’s independent internal investigation into allegations against former facilities director Steven Raucci won’t be released in any form, district officials said this morning.
The statement reverses earlier statements that at the least a summary would be made public as early as this week.
The district cited advice from legal counsel for its latest position. Attorney for the district, Patrick J. Fitzgerald III, “strongly advised district officials against publicly sharing or discussing any portion of the completed report,” the school district said in a statement.
Fitzgerald has been busy defending the district against claims from seven individuals related to alleged acts committed by Raucci against school employees and others.
The filings in the lawsuits or attempted lawsuits have provided a steady stream of revelations into what district officials might have known or done regarding complaints about Raucci, who is being held in Schenectady County Jail on arson and terrorism charges.
“In light of pending claims and legal proceedings, I do not feel that it is appropriate for the school district to comment on the investigation,” Fitzgerald said in the statement. “I am asking my client not to share or comment on the report, any summary of the report or any portion of the report.”
“I am confident that at any hearing,” Fitzgerald added, “the evidence will demonstrate that the school district followed procedures and policies in place that are designed to protect employees from harassment and discrimination. The school district intends to vigorously defend the claims that have been brought against it and is confident that it will be successful in defending these claims.”
District officials said they would accept no questions about the statement.
The district had said it planned to release a summary of the investigation report as early as this week, but would not release the full report.
Raucci faces charges of arson and terrorism for allegedly planting explosive devices as part of a pattern of harassment against perceived enemies, including fellow district employees and CSEA union members. No one was ever physically injured in the crimes, for which he was indicted by a Schenectady County grand jury.
The Board of Education in April hired Rachel Rissetto, human resource director for the Clinton Essex Warren Washington BOCES, to focus on the workplace allegations against Raucci at a fee of $100 per hour.
This included whether he sexually harassed and demeaned colleagues and if school officials knew about it but did not act.
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney has alleged that some school district officials were “beholden” to Raucci.
The Daily Gazette filed a Freedom of Information Law request seeking the document, which was denied on the grounds that there would be an invasion of privacy if it were disclosed and that the document is classified as an “intra-agency report” — not a final agency policy.
School district attorney Shari Greenleaf said previously that the intention of the school board had always been to make the report as public as possible.
“Clearly, there have been some intervening occurrences that have made it difficult for the board to release the entire report. They want that public scrutiny,” she said last week.