Dismissed Teacher Files Criminal Complaint Alleging Discriminati - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Dismissed Teacher Files Criminal Complaint Alleging Discrimination

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Carla Hale and her attorney have filed a criminal complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

Hale is the Bishop Watterson physical education teacher who was fired by the Catholic Diocese of Columbus after her same-sex relationship was published in her mother's obituary.

Tom Tootle, Hale's attorney, said he hand-delivered the complaint to the commission, and that the executive director of that commission said the next step is an investigation.

"If appropriate, they will charge the party responsible for terminating Ms. Hale with a first-degree misdemeanor," said Tootle.

He said they filed a discrimination complaint with the city at the same time Hale's grievance with the Diocese of Columbus is moving through the second stage at her teacher's union.

NBC4 asked Tootle why they are filing both at the same time.

"There is a time deadline to file. Under the section, we have only six months. We want to make sure we have met that deadline," he said.

The diocese has not responded to questions about the complaint filed, but has said all along that Hale was fired for a spousal relationship, which they believe is a distinction that could make the complaint a moot point. It means the church believes Hale was living out of wedlock regardless of whether her spouse is a man or woman.

Tootle said they have three ways to appeal Hale's firing: the grievance stages, a civil lawsuit, and the criminal complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

The director of that commission said now that they have the complaint, they will conduct a full investigation that is reviewed by the commissioners and a judge.

"If there is a probable finding, the commission will look at that again and refer it to the city attorney's office to determine if they can prosecute at that time," said Napoleon Bell, commission executive director.

"When you look at the letter of termination and the documents submitted with our complaint, there is no room for doubt whatsoever that Carla Hale was terminated on the basis of her sexual orientation," said Tootle.

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