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Two fired, academy director on probation after PHCC sexual harassment complaint

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco-Hernando Community College put a program director on probation and fired two employees Monday night following an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint.

Details about the complaint, filed Nov. 12, are sparse. According to the college's spokeswoman, Lucy Miller, the complaint alleges that law enforcement academy instructor Don Ruminer touched, gestured and made inappropriate comments toward another person. The college is not releasing the victim/complainant's name, citing federal law, but said the complainant was not a student.

The complaint was filed with the college's president, Katherine Johnson. Within 15 minutes of receiving it, the administration launched an investigation, Miller said.

The investigation found that James Nagy, a security consultant at the college, saw the sexual harassment happening but did nothing. When college officials questioned him, Miller wrote in an email, Nagy was uncooperative.

At some point, the investigation found that subordinates told the director of the college's public service programs, Nancy Bunch, about the harassment, but Bunch "failed to take action," Miller wrote.

The college fired Nagy and Ruminer on Monday. Neither will be asked back, Miller said. Bunch was put on probation.

Ruminer previously taught at Hillsborough Community College's criminal justice institute and at Withlacoochee Technical Institute in Citrus County until his contract was not renewed in 2009. He came to PHCC in 2010.

Nagy was hired as an adjunct instructor at PHCC in 1991 while he was working as a patrol deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. In his 23 years on the force, he had been the subject of 15 internal affairs investigations.

In 2011, he was hired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department, and less than a year into his tenure he was accused of taking video of a 14-year-old girl's rear end while working security at a skating rink.

Nagy was fired by Tarpon Springs the day the investigation began but kept working at the college. He was reassigned this year to work as a security consultant for the college and was not teaching cadets.

Bunch directed the criminal justice institute at Florida Keys Community College from 1998 until 2009 when her contract was not renewed.

"The College acted promptly, efficiently and appropriately in following through on a written complaint," Miller wrote. "A thorough investigation was completed and appropriate decisions were made and carried out."

The complaint "had nothing to do with the quality of instruction in the programs," she wrote. "The College will continue to utilize a pool of highly qualified adjunct instructors, many of whom come from our local law enforcement agencies, to train students at the academy."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Contact Alex Orlando at aorlando@tampabay.com or (727) 869-6247.

Two fired, academy director on probation after PHCC sexual harassment complaint 11/19/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:10pm]
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