Thursday, December 22, 2016

Drumgoole v. Archdiocese of Newark

Kate Drumgoole (right) with her wife  Jaclyn Vanore
Readers may recall that Kate Drumgoole, Dean of Guidance and girls' basketball coach at Paramus Catholic High School was terminated about a year ago when it was discovered that she married another woman. The trial judge has denied two motions to dismiss by the archdiocese and a New Jersey appeals court denied an appeal of the most recent motion so this is probably headed to a trial. Drumgoole has probably requested a jury trial.

I overlooked something. In September President James Vail and Principal Stephanie Macaluso were both placed on leave by the archdiocese. The archdiocese refused to comment. Both have since been reinstated.

I have a speculative theory. What we have frequently seen in the past is that local management is aware of the fact that the terminated employee was married. Everything is fine until one of the eunuchs at the archdiocese becomes aware of the fact and then the individual is terminated.

I suspect that is what occurred here. In fact the pair were ousted at about the time that discovery was in process. They may have been deposed. I do not know for certain because Drumgoole's lawyer does not return telephone calls. I further suspect that the pair were reinstated at the insistence of the attorney representing the archdiocese. If I am correct and they were originally placed on leave due to the fact that they knew that Drumgoole was married then it would have been spectacularly stupid to have three people terminated over the same controversial matter that was now in litigation.

At this point the archdiocese has admitted that Drumgoole was fired due to her marriage. The issue now is whether the ministerial exception applies and whether the policy has been applied uniformly. According to Drumgoole several faculty members are divorced and others are in same-sex relationships. She is also alleging that the school retaliated because several years earlier she notified administrators that several students were molested by members of the faculty.

Indeed, criminal charges were filed against two men for allegedly raping three students in 2011. Charges were later dismissed after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that they could not be tried in New Jersey (the incident occurred on a European trip). Artur Sopel and Michael Sumulikoski were the VP of Operations and permanent substitute teacher respectively.  Sopel and Sumulikoski are no longer employed by the school

Only those who are responsible for Drumgoole's termination know precisely why it happened. Marriage has been a flash-point. The Church was heavily invested in preventing same-sex marriage in this country and those efforts continue around the world.

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