Former AD Abused by Priest Reaches Settlement With Fresno State Over Firing

Aug 2, 2019

The former athletic director at Fresno State University, who revealed in 2017 that he had been molested as a child by a Catholic priest and that he suffered emotionally because of that abuse and subsequent revelations, has reached a settlement with the school over his firing.
The terms involving the settlement of the June 2018 lawsuit were not disclosed. At the time of his firing, however, Jim Bartko was nearing the end of his third year of a five-year contract, which paid him $290,000 a year. In his lawsuit, he sought $3 million in damages on the basis of defamation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.
He alleged Fresno State President Dr. Joseph I. Castro and other administrators orchestrated a “smear campaign” and forced him to resign. This came after he had an emotionally tumultuous 2017 in which he revealed, while receiving treatment at Sierra Tucson, that he had been molested by a Catholic priest. This led to an emotion-based disability, involving insomnia and PTSD, he alleged. Bartko claimed the defendants should have done more to accommodate his disability.
Castro had reportedly targeted Bartko’s job performance, including expense reimbursements and supporting documentation, as some of the reasons why, on Nov. 6, 2017, he was asked to resign. “Bartko in the claim alleges that he was not given time to fully read the resignation documents presented to him or review his options, but under duress signed a brief statement of resignation and a settlement agreement and release that included a waiver ‘of any right (he) may have under law or regulation to seek reconsideration or to revoke his resignation,'” according to the Fresno Bee.


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