SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A teary-eyed Cheraina Bonner stood in front of the Sarasota County School Board for the first time Tuesday night to talk about being allegedly sexually harassed by Assistant Superintendent Jeff Maultsby.
“To finally be able to release some of my feelings, it was a relief but very emotional,” said Bonner.
The mother of two tells us the last few months have been very difficult ever since coming out with the sexual harassment allegations against Maultsby and releasing their text message exchange.
“I have no feelings for him besides what he put me through, he destroyed my life,” said Bonner.
Bonner and her many supporters who spoke Tuesday night feel that the superintendent and the school board aren’t moving fast enough to have this resolved. Currently, Maultsby is on paid administrative leave. Bonner’s attorney Sara Blackwell says she’s very proud of her client.
“She’s an extremely brave woman, it’s sad to watch how she’s being treated, she was the victim of some very horrible things," said Blackwell. "The more she comes forward the worse she’s treated by the school board and by Mr. Bowden.”
Superintendent Todd Bowden says Bonner was incredibly brave and incredibly moving, but he says there isn’t anything further that can be done until the external investigation is complete.
“I would certainly like for the investigation to kind of pick up the pace a little bit, I’m as anxious as anyone to receive that report," said Bowden. "What I can say when we receive the report, we will act swiftly on it’s findings.”
Blackwell also asked for board member Caroline Zucker to be removed from being able to vote on this when the time comes saying that she’s a material witness. Zucker tells us this issue is taking away from focusing on the students of the school district.
“I would rather that this be played out in the courts and not at the school board meeting,” said Zucker.
There were others in attendance who have also accused Maultsby of sexual harassment. Bonner is hoping all of this gets resolved soon.
“I want them to look into their policies I want them to follow their policies," said Bonner. "I want them to be held accountable, I feel like a person in power should not have a different set of rules to follow.”
It’s not yet known when the external investigation will be complete.