The student is defending herself from claims that she is trying to extort money out of GDOE.
Guam – The student who made the sexual harassment allegations against Superintendent Jon Fernandez is speaking out about claims that she’s blackmailing the superintendent. Meanwhile, Governor Eddie Calvo is weighing in on the scandal at the Guam Department of Education.
Governor Eddie Calvo says Superintendent Jon Fernandez had already met with him before the scandal broke.
“I was a little bit shocked. I must tell you that Mr. Fernandez came to visit me the other day and advised me, he wanted to advise us up front on what the situation is,” says Governor Calvo.
While the governor says he’s always empathetic toward sex abuse victims, he wants to see how this case unfolds.
“For me, when it comes to issues in regards to sexual assault, this is an important issue. But then at the same time, looking at how this thing has moved along, seeing how things have happened where one party has made a presentation to a board and to officials internally; another party has made–pressed charges, particualy both in our local and federal authorities, these appear to be a little bit different–a lot more different than what had occurred earlier than, let’s say, with the University of Guam,” he explains.
The governor says it’s important to let the legal authorities conduct their investigation into the case.
The case stems from an incident dating back to January in which an 18-year-old JP Torres Alternative School student says Fernandez sent her an inappropriate text message. The student says she had asked Fernandez for a phone and he allegedly responded by saying that he would give her a phone for free but she had to be a “good girl.”
The student interpreted this to mean that Fernandez wanted to have sex with the student in exchange for the phone.
She also tells PNC that back in March, during school activities, Fernandez rubbed her buttocks while he hugged her, an incident that former JP Torres teacher Marcia Palomo says she witnessed.
In response to allegations that she’s attempting to extort money from Fernandez and the Guam Education Board, the student says her actions don’t rise to the level of blackmail. She tells PNC that the request for GDOE to pay for her private school tuition at $10,000 is not hers. It was a request her parents made but only because “the board asked us what we want and we told them we want justice. My parents requested for money at our mediation.”
She also says that the request was made out of concern for bullying at JP Torres Alternative School.
Whether or not the department hands over $10,000 to the student’s parents for her private school tuition, the student says she will continue to press forward with charges of sexual harassment, sexual solicitation and official misconduct against Fernandez.
“When he sent me the message, it did make me feel like that’s what he was asking for. He was asking for sex,” the student says.
At one point, the students says she considered dropping the charges, but only because another student, she says, tried to talk her out of it. But she tells us that she believes this other student was being manipulated by others.
Fernandez has denied the allegations and has filed his own criminal complaint against the student, her parents and other school officials. Fernandez filed the complaint for attempt, solicitation and conspiracy to commit extortion with Guam Police and the FBI.