Interactions between Raskin, Rude at center of lawsuitPublished 7:18am Tuesday, December 8, 2009
A lawsuit against the Austin Public Schools and former Superintendent Candace Raskin targets interactions between Raskin and school board member Curt Rude that took place up to two years ago.
Rude, who is also on leave as captain with the Austin Police Department, has sued Independent School District 492 and Raskin alleging defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention.
The suit was served Nov. 6, one day after Rude was convicted of fifth-degree felony drug possession and gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody for allegedly taking the painkiller OxyContin from the Austin Police Department evidence room in November of 2007. He was acquitted of felony theft.
Rude seeks damages in excess of $50,000 with this suit, which is the minimum required to be attached to a civil lawsuit.
The district and Raskin denied every allegation in their response to the lawsuit Nov. 24.
Rude’s complaint released Monday to the Austin Daily Herald references several statements Raskin allegedly made in November of 2007.
Rude was elected to the school board Nov. 6, 2007 and that evening he and Raskin had controversial verbal exchanges at Austin High School, while the election results were tallied.
Raskin submitted an internal affairs complaint about their exchanges that night to the Austin Police Department. Following an investigation of events, Rude received a written reprimand from Chief of Police Paul Philipp that January for engaging in confrontational verbal exchanges with Raskin.
Statements Raskin may have made about those election night events are now under fire.
Raskin charged in her complaint that Rude was intimidating, threatening and abused his position as a police officer on the night of Nov. 6, 2007. She also asserted that he was intoxicated, verbally and physically abusive and caused her fear, according to investigation documents released after the reprimand in 2007. The lawsuit alleges that she made the same statements Nov. 7, 2007, the day after the incident at AHS. Rude lists these claims as false, defamatory and damaging in his lawsuit.
The suit lists alleged exact quotes by Raskin such as, “Now I know what a woman feels like when someone’s raped her, because I feel so victimized.”
The Nov. 6, 2007 confrontations were caught on surveillance cameras, but the cameras did not record sound. There were several witnesses who gave their accounts to an investigator.
The independent investigation found that Rude had consumed alcohol that night, but may not have been legally intoxicated, and that this was in poor judgment but not illegal as he was off-duty. It also found that Rude engaged in conduct unbecoming to a police officer and was vehement in his choice of words. It did not find Rude’s behavior to have been verbally nor physically threatening, according to investigation documents released after the reprimand in 2007.
The investigation also found Raskin and Rude to both be at fault for the Nov. 6, 2007 incident, finding they were both unprofessional and should have conducted themselves in a less confrontational manner.
Rude responded during that investigation that Raskin’s complaint against him was an effort of her relentless pursuit to besmirch him, according to investigation documents released after the reprimand in 2007. Rude had originally campaigned to sit on the school board largely on principles of addressing alleged Raskin-imposed staff reductions and micromanagement.
The complaint also cites four alleged statements made in 2008. In January, during the time of the investigation, Raskin allegedly threatened Rude with criminal and civil action or an investigation and said “we expel students based on that,” referring to his criminal charges, according to the complaint.
After Rude’s reprimand, later in January, the complaint states that Raskin allegedly said she would pay Rude’s school board stipend and insurance if he resigned.
The district stopped offering health insurance to board members Nov. 26, 2007, except to grandfathered-in members who were elected to the board by that time.
A final alleged defamatory statement is claimed to have been said in June of 2008, with Raskin accusing Rude of engaging in gender discrimination and other discriminatory conduct.
Rude’s suit alleges that all of the aforementioned statements are false, defamatory and inflicted emotional harm. The complaint states that he will incur expenses for medical care and treatment of the emotional and psychological damages that were a result of the alleged statements.
Rude is suing the district for vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention under the general pretense that Raskin was employed by APS and was under APS supervision when allegedly defaming Rude in the course of her work.
The district’s response states that Rude’s complaint is “without merit, is asserted in bad faith, is frivolous and that the defendants are entitled to recover their attorney fees.”
Rude is on unpaid suspension from the police department, but he has continued to serve on the school board.
Neither Rude nor his attorney Charles Bird of Bird, Jacobsen and Stevens, P.C. elected to comment on the case.
Raskin did not return calls for comment.
Current superintended David Krenz and APS attorney Margaret Skelton of Ratwik, Roszak and Maloney, P.A. released the complaint but did not offer comment.
MARCH of 2007 — Former KAAL-TV reporter Mark Johnson dies of a drug overdose, from the painkiller OxyContin.
NOV. 6, 2007 — Then police lieutenant Curt Rude allegeldy takes the painkiller OxyContin labeled “Mark C. Johnson” from the Austin Police Department evidence room. Rude is elected to the Austin Public Schools School Board with the second-most votes ever in a school board election. Rude and then superintendent Candace Raskin have controversial verbal exchanges at Austin High School while the election results are tallied. An investigation follows.
DEC. 17, 2009 — Rude is charged with felony drug possession, gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody and felony theft.
DEC. 18, 2007 — Rude is suspended without pay from his duties on the Austin police force.
JAN. 17, 2008 — Rude is issued a written reprimand from Police Chief Paul Philipp in regards to the exchanges between he and Raskin.
APRIL 30, 2008 — Raskin accepts a professorship position at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
MAY 12, 2008 — Raskin’s resignation as superintendent is official.
NOV. 5, 2009 — Rude was convicted of fifth-degree felony drug possession and gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody for allegedly taking the painkiller OxyContin from the Austin Police Department evidence room in November of 2007. He was acquitted of felony theft.
NOV. 6, 2009 — Rude sued Independent School District 492 and Raskin alleging defamation, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, vicarious liability, negligent supervision and negligent retention in regards to several statements allegedly made by Raskin.
NOV. 24 2009 — The district and Raskin denied every allegation in their response to the lawsuit.
DEC. 21, 2009 — Rude is scheduled for sentencing in Olmsted County for felony drug possession, gross misdemeanor interfering with property in official custody.
To view the lawsuit, click here.
To view the school district’s response, click here.