Ex-Detroit Schools Official To Stand Trial
A former superintendent for Detroit’s public schools told a courtroom Friday that she asked her then-boss, the school board president, on at least one occasion to stop fondling himself in her presence.
Teresa Gueyser testified that nevertheless during a meeting to discuss her job evaluation last month, Otis Mathis unzipped his pants and “appeared to wipe himself” with a handkerchief
Gueyser said she told Mathis: “I’m sick of you behaving this way. You’re a pervert.”
Mathis, 55, is charged with misconduct in office and obscene conduct. Judge Nancy Farmer bound him over to Wayne County Circuit Court at his preliminary examination Friday in the 36th District Court.
Misconduct in office is a five-year felony. Obscene conduct is a 90-day misdemeanor.
An arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 13. Mathis remains free on a $50,000 bond and has been ordered not to have contact with children at any school.
Only Gueyser and Mathis were in his office during the June 16 meeting.
Gueyser stormed out, reported the incident to an officer assigned to her executive protection unit and filed a complaint with the school district’s public safety department.
“I was shocked,” she testified. “I know I was crying. I was upset. At no point could I have ever anticipated he would unzip his pants in my presence.”
The only witness called to testify, Gueyser was grilled by defense attorney Odie Uddyback about the meeting, and asked if she knew Mathis had bladder cancer.
“All you heard was a zipper went down,” Uddyback said. “She misconstrued, at the best, what she was watching. He could have been scratching his thigh.”
Mathis stepped down as board president, giving the board his resignation letter on June 17.
In it, Mathis wrote that he “made inappropriate actions toward a professional employee of the board” and that he regretted his actions.
He attempted to withdraw his resignation, but his former colleagues would not allow him back.
Mathis was elected to the board two years ago. Board members appointed him president earlier this year.
Gueyser lost her job when Public Schools emergency financial manager Robert Bobb did not renew her $190,000 per year contract. Bobb has been in charge of district finances, including contracts, since he was appointed in March 2009 by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Gueyser was appointed last year by the Board of Education, which is at odds with Bobb over academic control of the district.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)