Wendt Seeks To Deny Dismissal In Sexual Harassment Case

Dr. Matthew Wendt

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The former Fayetteville School District Superintendent has asked a judge to a deny a request to dismiss his lawsuit against a former employee who accused him of sexual harassment.

Dr. Matthew Wendt also wants Judge John Threet to strike some of Shae Lynn Newman’s pleadings related to the release of text messages he sent to her in 2017, according to a motion filed Sept. 19 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Wendt accused Newman of using “the media in lieu of the proper forum to resolve issues” and launching a “public relations piece disguised as a legal pleading,” according to the motion.

Wendt sued Newman last month for allegedly making false claims about their relationship, which he said damaged his career.

Wendt argued that Newman and her lawyer, Suzanne Clark, created an untrue story about his relationship with Newman. He’s seeking $850,000 in damages.

In April, Clark released a letter from Newman accusing Wendt of making unwanted sexual advances and threats toward her. She released several text messages that appeared to show Wendt threatening Newman’s job and stalking her.

The letter states that Wendt sent text messages saying he could call her whenever he wanted because, as he stated, “I’m the motherf**king boss.”

In his motion filed last week, Wendt said Newman abandoned policies of the district to publish “false information” designed to cause his termination.

Clark argued that Wendt filed his lawsuit to unmask his accuser.

“Wendt’s intention in filing his complaint was to disclose (Newman’s) identity and make public assertions he apparently believes exonerate his repugnant and abusive conduct toward Ms. Newman,” Clark wrote.

“Wendt laments his lack of employment and faults (Newman) for that status. If Wendt wants someone to blame for being out of a job and ‘damaged in the marketplace,’ he should look in the mirror.”

Wendt argued in the most recent motion that a blog initially disclosed Newman’s identity before Wendt filed his lawsuit. He said the blog published her name and photo on July 23.

Newman accused Wendt in March of sexual harassment.

Wendt was fired on June 18 for breach of contract for derogatory comments against a fellow employee violating district policy, according to Susan Kendall, attorney for the School Board.

Newman later sued to keep private records related to the district’s investigation of Wendt.

Those documents, obtained through the state Freedom of Information Act, show Wendt allegedly sent Newman several sexually explicit messages after the two had an affair.