Former Fayetteville Superintendent Files Amended Complaint Against Accuser, Adding Defamation

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — The former superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools filed an amended complaint Monday adding a claim of defamation to his lawsuit against the woman who accused him of sexual harassment, which he claims led to his firing.

Matthew Wendt’s lawsuit against Shay Newman was amended Oct. 26 to add the claim of defamation. In it, Wendt claims that a letter made public on April 5 and a press release made public on June 14 by Newman’s attorney, Suzanne G. Clark, contained “false and misleading information about the Defendant’s sexual harassment claim against the Plaintiff (Wendt) and were intended to cause the termination of Plaintiff’s Contract with FPS.”

“The Defendant’s actions had the desired result,” the amendment states.

Wendt’s amendment says that Newman and Clark filed an EEOC complaint against the school district for “sexual harassment” against Wendt. The school district filed a response and stated that, “Without question, the factual evidence submitted by the District confirms that the Charging Party [Shae Lynn Newman] was not sexually harassed…” and that the school district requested the EEOC issue a no-cause finding and “dismiss the pending charge, without further delay.”

Using the school district’s request and findings as fact, Wendt added the claim of defamation, according to the amendment.

Wendt’s amendment claims the release of the letter April 5 and the press release June 14 “caused to be published false and defamatory statements of fact about Plaintiff,” and that Clark and Newman “published information falsely accusing Plaintiff of sexual harassment.” The amendments states that Newman and Clark knew the sexual harassment claims were false, and that the statements damaged Wendt and led to his firing.

Wendt’s amendment requests damages of $850,000 on the defamation claims.

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