A former Bibb County school employee claims that then-Superintendent Romain Dallemand made repeated, unwanted sexual advances toward her and suggested he could further her career if she would have sex with him.
The former employee, Alicia Allen-Carter, said she met Dallemand in a hotel room he rented at the Macon Marriott City Center during 2011 high school graduation ceremonies, and that she also stayed with him at a Savannah hotel during an education conference there that same year.
Her allegations of sexual harassment were part of an investigative report compiled by the Bibb County school system earlier this year. The system’s findings were sent to the state’s Professional Standards Commission, the educator regulatory agency, to see if there were any violations of the Code of Ethics for Educators.
On Dec. 11, the commission ruled there was no probable cause to investigate the matter and closed the case. The Telegraph obtained the report under the state’s Open Records Act.
The agency already had revoked Dallemand’s certification for issues related to the purchase of technology equipment and services, so there was no further administrative sanction it could impose against him had it found violations, a PSC letter said.
The commission also decided not to investigate whether Carter’s claims were true.
“Our feelings were that she waited way too late” to report the allegations to the school system, said Paul Shaw, the commission’s director of educator ethics. Carter is no longer a school system employee, and the commission believed there may have been “ulterior motives” in Carter’s actions, including trying to strengthen her pending discrimination claim against the school system, Shaw said.
So, the case amounts to Carter’s word against Dallemand’s.
Dallemand, 46, denies the allegations, according to the PSC. After the school system bought out his contract for $350,000 in 2013, he was thought to be living in his native Haiti. He has also lived in Naples, Florida, since leaving Macon.
Carter, reached Friday, said she could not discuss particulars of the case because of her pending claim with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“We’re not going to disclose specific details because we don’t want to divulge too much before we get to a judge,” she said.
In her interview with school system attorneys during the district’s probe, Carter “freely admitted that she and Dr. Dallemand engaged in a consensual relationship that involved sexual touching from time to time,” the report said.
Asked if she stood by allegations cited in the report, Carter said: “If it says I said it, to the PSC or whoever, by all means.”
Carter was a “literacy coach,” an assistant to Dallemand and then director of the system’s alternative school program during her employment with the district. Her contract for the 2014-2015 school year, while Steve Smith was interim superintendent, was not renewed this past spring.
Carter came forward with her allegations after that. The district’s findings note that she did not report any harassment to her supervisor or to Randy Howard, the system’s chief legal counsel. When interviewed, she said she had no inappropriate texts or emails from Dallemand during the period in question, nor could she offer any witnesses who could substantiate her claims. None of the witnesses interviewed during the school system’s investigation said they ever saw an instance of Dallemand harassing Carter.
‘LEAVE WORK AND MEET HIM’
In early June, Carter’s Florida lawyer sent the school board a letter. The letter contends that Dallemand sexually harassed Carter and, according to the system’s summary of the letter’s claims, said Dallemand “suggested that he could further Ms. Carter’s career if she would have sexual relations with him.”
Carter was Dallemand’s assistant from July 2011 until early June 2012. Her salary was $110,000. Her duties included supervising the public relations office.
According to the summary, “She monitored Dr. Dallemand’s blog, answered questions on the blog, proofed the blog, and accompanied him to functions.”
Carter said she first met Dallemand in March or April of 2011 while she was a literacy coach at Rutland High School. She said she met Dallemand after a school meeting at Southwest High, gave him her business card and phone number and, according to the summary, apparently implied she was interested in joining his administrative staff.
She said he called her “that very night” and she told him “she wanted to be mentored and groomed,” the summary said.
After that they talked “10 times a day.”
“According to Ms. Carter,” the summary said, “Dr. Dallemand trusted her because she was an outsider.”
Her lawyer’s letter noted her first alleged meet-up with Dallemand happened while she was still working at Rutland.
“Dallemand asked her to leave work and meet him between Macon and Atlanta,” the report said, noting that Dallemand was supposedly on his way out of town. “According to Ms. Carter, she explained that she was working. Dr. Dallemand instructed her to tell the principal that she had to leave for official business.”
Carter claims she met Dallemand at a bar called Hobo’s, located off Exit 155 along a highway the summary does not identify. The exit number listed appears to be in error because that exit along Interstate 75 is at Hartley Bridge Road in south Bibb County. The Telegraph could find no current listing for a bar by that name in Georgia.
Carter, who lived in Henry County, claims the two met again at the same establishment not long after the first meeting, on Dallemand’s return trip, and discussed “their private lives.”
They met other times that spring as well, according to Carter.
She said that while on spring break she drove to Macon and had lunch with Dallemand in his office.
“Ms. Carter denies any physical contact during that meeting,” the summary noted.
Another time, on May 7, she said she took him a salad and he told her, “You look nice.”
Later that month, Carter said she was attending Rutland High’s graduation at the Macon Coliseum. Dallemand told her he had a room at the Marriott hotel next door, the summary said.
“She came early for graduation and met him at the hotel. She brought him food,” the report said. “The maid at the hotel let her into his room. There were cheese and fruit trays in the room.”
When Dallemand walked in, Carter said, he asked her for a massage.
“He took off his dress shirt and she massaged him. Ms. Carter indicated that she was wearing a dress and she straddled Dr. Dallemand in the process of massaging his back,” the summary said.
Dallemand made a vulgar reference to her genitals, to which she allegedly replied: “‘I probably do and you need to be getting over to the Centreplex.’ He gave her a peck (kiss) on the way out the door.”
Carter described the situation as “very awkward,” the summary said.
Copies of hotel receipts included in the report note a charge of $87.01 for a room in Dallemand’s name at the Macon Marriott on May 21, 2011.
The next month, Dallemand and school board officials attended a school governance conference in Savannah. Carter said Dallemand -- who has been separated from his wife in the past and reconciled with her after beginning divorce proceedings -- invited Carter and said she should bring along Grey Goose vodka and cranberry juice.
That evening, Carter said it was storming outside and she was afraid of the lightning. So she slept in the same bed with Dallemand, the summary said, noting:
“Ms. Carter admitted that the two fondled each other and ‘played around.’ She insists that there was no sex because she was on her menstrual cycle. When asked whether she would have had sex with Dr. Dallemand had (that not been the case), Ms. Carter stated that she would have.”
It was while in Savannah that Carter claims Dallemand instructed the system’s human resources director, Myra Abrams, to post two job openings. One of them was “assistant to the superintendent.”
Carter said she later interviewed for the position and asked what it paid. She said Dallemand told her $50,000.
“Darn,” she replied, “I can stay in my current position and make that.”
Dallemand then told her the job would pay about $100,000, according to the report.
“Now you talking,” Carter recalled saying.
The report includes copies of receipts from the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah totaling $766.90 for three nights, including meals, parking and gratuities.
‘SHO’ AM A FREAK’
It was around that time, in June 2011, when the sexting scandal involving U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York made headlines. Weiner had sent explicit photos of himself to women, and one of the pictures was leaked to reporters.
Carter said Dallemand “began to get leery of her.” She said he referred to the Weiner case and asked if she “would ever do anything like that to him.”
Carter also said Dallemand was under the impression that she and Dallemand were “girlfriend and boyfriend,” the summary said, which made Carter think, “Oh! Darn.”
She went on to describe an episode in fall 2011 “where she believed that sexual harassment took place” on school board property. Carter, who had since landed the supervisory public relations post on Dallemand’s cabinet, said she was in Dallemand’s office and called him a “neat freak.”
“I don’t know about the neat,” Dallemand supposedly replied, “but I sho’ am a freak.”
With Carter in her new job, her relationship with Dallemand “began to deteriorate,” the report said.
“She recalled Dr. Dallemand asking her if she used him to get the assistant position,” later noting that Carter “stated that Dr. Dallemand liked to rule by fear and intimidation. Ms. Carter stated that she was not a puppet. She did not believe that Dr. Dallemand was afraid of her, but he was skeptical of her. She said that he was very paranoid.”
The board’s internal probe included interviews with several school system employees.
Shirley Fussell, Dallemand’s administrative assistant at the time, said in the report she never saw anything she would describe as sexual harassment, but she did recall an incident in which Carter exited Dallemand’s office pointing her finger.
“You will never get rid of me,” Fussell quoted Carter as saying.
Kathy Gabriel, administrative assistant to the system’s chief financial officer, told officials that something seemed “unusual” about Dallemand and Carter’s relationship.
Gabriel, the summary stated, “believed that Ms. Carter had stronger feelings for Dr. Dallemand rather than the other way around.”
Gabriel added that Carter’s accusations did not surprise her and that she “believes that Ms. Carter is in trouble and is just trying to turn ‘the heat’ on someone else.”
In January 2012, after a female student was allegedly raped during school hours at Northeast High, Carter “believed that Dallemand blamed her for allegedly mishandling” the media regarding the matter, the summary said.
“She stated that Dr. Dallemand told her to pack her things. She replied that they would have to pack together.”
Carter said Dallemand “insisted that somebody had to be punished ... for not keeping him apprised of the situation.”
Carter claims she told him, “When I leave, you will leave,” the summary stated, adding that Carter said Dallemand “later apologized for the threats.”
Carter said that as the year went on, she didn’t want to be Dallemand’s assistant.
After Carter had been named director of the school system’s alternative program in summer 2012, she claims Dallemand accused her of insubordination for refusing to take some alternative school students to an Atlanta Falcons game -- a field trip in essence.
“Dr. Dallemand tried putting something in her personnel file regarding the alleged insubordination,” the summary said. “She told Randy Howard (the board’s chief legal counsel) to tell Dr. Dallemand that ‘this was not the way to go.’ ”
Later, after “an incident where Mr. Howard had to calm Dr. Dallemand and Ms. Carter down,” Howard asked Carter “what it is that she had on Dr. Dallemand,” the summary noted. “She advised Mr. Howard that she had information that would damage Dr. Dallemand’s professional career and destroy his family.”
She gave Howard no specifics, the summary said, nor did she inform the human resources office of any harassment.
Howard, according to the summary, recalled Carter telling Dallemand, “If I go down, you go down.”
Carter said she “never asked (Dallemand) for anything,” the summary said. “She did think that her relationship with Dr. Dallemand could advance her career.”
Earlier this year when school system investigator Ed Aaron interviewed Carter, he asked her why she had waited so long to lodge a complaint, “well after Dr. Dallemand’s departure from the district.”
“She explained that since her arrival in August 2010, she has endured things that an employee should not have to go through,” according to the report. “Ms. Carter indicated that she was targeted by the current (Smith) administration because of her position in the former administration and because she believed that she was sexually harassed by Dr. Dallemand.”
On Labor Day of this year, Dallemand called Aaron. Aaron informed him of Carter’s accusations, which Dallemand “categorically denied.”
“Dr. Dallemand questioned why Ms. Carter would bring such allegations and well after he had left the district,” the summary said. “He answered his own question by saying that her job was in jeopardy and that was the reason for her actions. Dr. Dallemand stated that his only mistake with Ms. Carter was hiring her.”
Writer Joe Kovac Jr. contributed to this report. To contact writer Oby Brown, call 744-4396.