SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A state appeals court on Monday reversed a lower court decision in the case of a teacher who was fired then reinstated after he posted an ad on Craigslist soliciting sex from men.
Frank Lampedusa, a tenured teacher with the San Diego Unified School District, was terminated after allegations that he showed unfitness for service and immoral conduct.
The Commission of Professional Competence determined that the cause for dismissal did not exist and reinstated Lampedusa's employment with the school district.
In an unpublished opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled Monday that there was no substantial evidence to support the commission's decision.
The evidence in the case shows both evident unfitness to serve as a teacher and that Lampedusa engaged in immoral conduct, either of which constituted grounds for termination, the appeals court ruled.
The appeals court directed a San Diego Superior Court judge to order the commission to set aside its decision finding cause did not exist to terminate Lampedusa's employment and render a decision finding the teacher's conduct constituted grounds for dismissal.
According to court documents, a district police dispatcher received a call from an anonymous male in June 2008 that stated a friend had told him that the dean of students at Farb Middle School - identified as Lampedusa - had a posting on Craigslist's "men seeking men" page soliciting sex.
The ad also included pictures of Lampedusa's face, torso, abdomen, anus and genitalia, according to court documents.
The listing did not include Lampedusa's name, contact information, profession or any mention of his employment with the district or Farb, according to the court documents.
A district supervisor asked Lampedusa to remove the listing from the Internet and he complied, but was served with a dismissal notice in November 2008, according to the documents.
The Commission of Professional Competence issued its decision on June 12, 2009, finding Lampedusa's conduct in placing the sexually explicit ad was "vulgar and inappropriate and demonstrated a serious lapse in good judgment."
The commission strongly condemned Lampedusa's behavior but said the school district failed to prove any connection to the teacher's employment.
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