Pinellas School Deputy Accused of Sexual Harassment, Retires
He was assigned as a school resource deputy at Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor. He was accused of walking up behind the school employee and placing both hands on her hip without her permission, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.
PALM HARBOR – A school resource deputy at Carwise Middle School has retired while under investigation for sexual harassment allegations, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Bernard D’Agostino, 52, retired from the department, effective today (Oct. 9). He had worked for the Pinellas sheriff since Oct. 1, 1998.
According to the investigation, a letter was received on Oct. 1 that alleged two incidents of sexual harassment occurring toward a school employee.
During the week of Sept. 17, D’Agostino was alleged to have walked up behind the school employee and placed both hands on her hips, from behind, without her permission.
On Sept. 26, D’Agostino was alleged to have walked up behind the same school employee while she was talking with insurance representatives. The representatives had a small table set up with snacks for the employees. The school employee asked if she could have a banana and D’Agostino offered to get her one. D’Agostino then allegedly asked the school employee if she would like “a bent one or a straight one,” insinuating the bananas were penises.
After making the statement, D’Agostino laughed and continued to make inappropriate comments to the school employee, while handing her the banana. These allegations were confirmed by witnesses to the incident., deputies said.
The school employee did not initially report the first incident until both were reported in the letter received Oct. 1.
Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the sheriff’s office removed D’Agostino from his assignment as a school resource deputy at Carwise.
When interviewed, D’Agostino said he did not recall touching the school employee, but admitted to making the statement regarding the bananas. D’Agostino said he did not intend to make the implication that the banana was a penis, according to deputies.
Investigators said D’Agostino was notified that he would be reassigned to patrol and placed under an administrative investigation, at which time he decided to retire, effective today.
Pinellas Sheriff | Deputy Retires | Sexual Harassment | Tampabay News
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