Ex-Flagler College professor claims she was fired after reporting misconduct allegations

Lawsuit seeks more than $15,000

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A former assistant professor at Flagler College is suing the private school, claiming she was fired in retaliation after she accused another faculty member of sexual misconduct.

According to the lawsuit, in Feb. 2018, Tina Jaeckle brought to the school's attention allegations of sexual misconduct by Joel Bolante, who at the time was Flagler's director of investigations into sexual misconduct. Jaeckle told the school that Bolante "maintained inappropriate sexual relationships with students, which created a power imbalance between professor and student thereby creating a discriminatory and hostile education environment on the basis of sex."

Bolante joined Flagler College after retiring from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. The lawsuit says multiple third parties warned the school about Bolante's behavior, but that an investigation was never conducted.

According to the suit, an investigation into Jaeckle was opened a month after she came forward with the allegations against Bolante. The investigation into Jaeckle said her class attendance was poor, that she was canceling classes to attend outside activities and was teaching at another institution without prior approval. Jaeckle was not interviewed by Flagler College, and was fired in June 2018.

In 2017, she had a performance review that gave her a 5/5 and noted "very meaningful contributions to the criminology program," and she was reappointed to the faculty. Jaeckle had been a professor at Flagler College since 2003, records show.

The lawsuit seeks in excess of $15,000. A response from Carol Branson, Flagler College's vice president for marketing and communications, reads:

"This is an active legal proceeding, so unfortunately, I am unable to provide a comment on the lawsuit at this time."