An ex-assistant secretary of the Air Force who has become a George Mason University Law School professor has asked a federal court to throw out a lawsuit by a former female professor who claimed he sexually harassed her and then retaliated when she rejected him.
The filing is just the latest salvo in a several-year battle between Joseph Zengerle, a West Point graduate and Airborne Ranger Infantry officer in Vietnam who founded the university's Clinic for Legal Assistance to Servicemembers, and Kyndra Rotunda, former lawyer in the Army's Judge Advocate General's Office and a prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay Office of Military Commissions, who was hired as the clinic's director.
Mr. Zengerle has denied the allegations, outlined as part of a bitter fight that has resulted in a testy court case involving the exchange of nearly 100,000 pages of documents and 100 hours of depositions. The dispute also led to Mrs. Rotunda and her husband, Ronald Rotunda, a noted constitutional law expert, quitting their jobs at George Mason.
The university also is named in the suit and joined with Mr. Zengerle in asking the court to dismiss it. The school has denied allegations that it ignored Mrs. Rotunda's complaints and paid her a lesser salary because she is a woman.
In his July 17, 2008, resignation letter, Mr. Rotunda said GMU was "more concerned with hiding its dirty laundry than cleaning it." He said when his wife complained of incidents of sexual harassment, the law school "scrambled to cover up the problem … and retaliated against the victim instead of fixing the problem."
Both Rotundas now teach at Chapman University School of Law in California.