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USF department dean sues former employee for defamation

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A tiff between USF’s head of the USF College of the Arts and a former assistant music professor continues to get heated. James Moy, the department’s dean, is suing former employee Jill Brasky for defamation of character.

In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County Court November 17, Moy sites information in a federal lawsuit he says show she began slandering his character as early as January 4 of last year. That date is just two days after Moy recommended denying tenure to Brasky.

According to Moy’s lawsuit, his former employee sent personal emails to colleagues, including to those at other universities, claiming Moy had a sexual relationship with another married faculty member, Kyoung Cho, and then improperly recommending her for tenure. He also claims Brasky accused him of allowing Cho’s disdain toward Brasky influence his decision not to recommend tenure.

Moy denies any sexual relationship with Cho or improper influence of tenure decisions. He’s now seeking damages of an unspecified amount for claims he says are false and have led to “shame, humiliation and mental anguish.” He also claims her accusations have damaged his reputation among colleagues and even future job prospects.

But, Brasky sued Moy first. Earlier this year, Brasky filed a suit in Hillsborough County alleging sexual discrimination and harassment. In that suit, Brasky claims she had complained of the abuse for years. Brasky worked at USF from 2007 until this May.

Brasky’s chief complaint in that lawsuit circled around USF’s former director of its School of Music, Wade Weast, who she said passed an inappropriate note during a meeting, among other allegations. However, Moy is named in that lawsuit as well.

The relationship Moy refers to Brasky accusing him of is not referenced in that lawsuit.

But Brasky also filed a suit in federal court. That’s where Moy allegedly obtained documents showing further allegations in personal email correspondence.

It’s not clear whether Moy’s suit is in retaliation of Brasky’s. Brasky’s Hillsborough suit is still pending. It’s not clear what the status of the federal suit currently is.

What is clear is that Brasky’s complaints go far beyond allegations of sexual impropriety. Not only does she claim she was sexually discriminated against and harassed, Brasky also argued she was given an unfair work burden compared to her colleagues.

The school told her she was being denied tenure because she failed to produce enough independent research. However, she claims that due to the overburdened workload she was given, such research was not possible.

Brasky is currently a visiting assistant professor in music theory at the Emory College of Arts and Sciences. The school’s bio for Brasky notes that she is a previous faculty member at USF as well as American University.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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