A strong reporter obtained away with sexual misconduct for many years. His paper and affiliation seemed away.
Ms. Balingit, who worked at The Post-Gazette from 2008 to 2014, said she didn’t realize how hostile the environment was until after she worked at the Washington Post, and things were different.
“I told a friend that I had been working there for 18 months and had not been harassed once,” she said. “It was noticeable to me.”
Mr. Fuoco’s stature in town went well beyond newsroom, as did his reported misconduct. He has taught journalism at Point Park University (where the guild also represents the faculty) and the University of Pittsburgh. Diana Kelly, who was a 22-year-old senior in his class in 2002, had moved home to Pitt after struggling with depression. She told me that Mr. Fuoco had encouraged her and told her she was a talented writer with a bright future, and invited her for a drink after the semester ended. “It became very clear that it wasn’t about him talking to me about my future career opportunities,” she recalled. She soon felt trapped in a sexual relationship with him that lasted until 2006, confirmed emails she shared with The Times and a former college friend.
“As a teacher, it just horrifies me,” Ms. Kelly told me in an interview last week.
Ms. Kelly knew she wasn’t the only student to have this experience. At the same time, Mr. Fuoco was trying to distance himself from another young woman he had met when he was speaking before a journalism class at Point Park University in 2002. Later that year when she was 22 and still a student as a stringer for The Post-Gazette, she became pregnant and had Mr. Fuoco’s child, an account partially confirmed by court documents in her alimony case.
The former Point Park student complained to the Post-Gazette in 2011, describing their relationship, claiming Mr. Fuoco threatened her, according to emails she shared with me. The newspaper’s vice president of human resources Stephen B. Spolar replied in another email that, based on reading your email and talking to Mr Fuoco, he had concluded that your argument was a personal one, and he did did not instruct her to contact Mr. Fuoco “during work hours”. The Post-Gazette suspended Mr. Fuoco for a week for using the company’s time and resources, such as his company email account, on personal matters, a current and former Post-Gazette manager said. Both said they would only discuss it on condition of anonymity as it is a personnel issue.
Mr. Fuoco responded to the suspension by holding the former student responsible for the salary he had lost. “I want my money and I want it before I leave work today,” he wrote to her on April 16 in an email she shared with me.
The company said in a statement earlier this week that it believes it “handled the only complaint adequately”.
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