WAYNESBURG – The federal settlement between the Central Greene School District and a special education teacher who accused the former high school principal of coercing her into a sexual relationship cost the district’s insurer $145,000, according to the agreement made public Tuesday.
The settlement pays Danielle Golden $85,387 and her Pittsburgh attorney, Samuel Cordes, $59,613, according to the terms of the agreement.
Golden sued the district in July 2016 alleging that David Mason engaged in “unwanted and unsolicited” sexual conduct with her while he was high school principal and her supervisor. The lawsuit also claimed the school district knew of Mason’s past conduct, but allowed him to continue supervising Golden while taking no disciplinary action against him.
Golden and her attorney settled with the district in February, according to documents filed in federal court in Pittsburgh. The agreement releases the district and Mason from any responsibilities related to the allegations. The district and Mason also deny any illegal conduct, according to the settlement.
The district released the settlement Tuesday morning after the Observer-Reporter filed an open records request in April asking that it be made public. The district denied that request and the newspaper appealed the decision in May to the state Office of Open Records, which ruled July 21 that the district must release the five-page document within 30 days. The district did so after no one involved in the settlement had appealed the ruling in Greene County Court by Monday.
Golden signed the agreement March 8 while Mason signed it April 19. School board President Andrew Corfont, who said last month the district’s insurer approved the settlement and that neither he nor any member of the board had seen it, signed the document Friday.
Cordes said it would be “surprising” if the school board didn’t view or approve the settlement before it was paid. He said the payment was made March 22 by Western World Insurance Co. in Parsippany, N.J. Cordes said Golden continues to work in the district.
Mason, who worked in the district for nearly 15 years, was suspended Aug. 21, 2015. The school board voted to fire him during a special meeting Dec. 5, 2015.