Alini Brito and Cindy Mauro were fired last month after a state arbitrator's report concluded that the pair of language teachers were having a "sexual encounter" when school custodians walked in on them in November 2009. But the duo filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court claiming wrongful termination, libel and slander, the New York Daily News reports.
"They've had to deal with these false allegations of engaging in lesbian sex," lawyer Michael Valentine told the Daily News. "It's been painful."
What actually went on that night at James Madison High School (renamed "Horndog High" by the city's tabloids) is not clear.
According to a city report, Brito, a Spanish teacher, and Mauro, a French teacher, had after work with another teacher and an assistant principal before returning to the high school to attend a and dance competition. Partway through the show, the pair retreated to Mauro's classroom.
At some point after that, two school custodians opened the door to the room to find the women on the floor, in various states of dress. A school safety officer, summoned to the scene, said she saw Brito topless on the floor and Mauro between her legs. When an assistant principal arrived, she said she saw Brito "leaning against the teacher's desk ... and she seemed to be, like, zippering her boot and finishing buttoning her shirt."
But Brito and Mauro give an entirely different account of the night's events.
At a Department of Education hearing, the accusing custodian admitted that he was standing behind another person, 15 feet away from the slightly open door, looking into a dark classroom, and that he could only make out one half- woman.
The testimony led lawyer Valentine to ask, "When does a fish become a whale?"