Peterborough settles with former Rec. Director King
PETERBOROUGH — The town of Peterborough will pay fired Recreation Director Jeffrey King up to $20,000 to settle the lawsuit that alleged the town discriminated against King because of his affiliation with the Boy Scouts.
King was fired in 2019 following an internal investigation that accused him of taking “prurient” photos of teen girls at the town’s swimming pool. In the lawsuit, filed in the Cheshire Superior Court in Keene, King maintained he took the photos to post to the town's Recreation Department social media.
King accused then-Assistant Town Administrator Nicole MacStay of moving against him because of his support for the Boy Scouts.
The lawsuit was heading for trial next year, but the sides agreed to settle earlier this month. According to the settlement agreement, King will get payment for health insurance of up to $20,000 in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. He does not get any other compensation as part of the agreement, not even attorney fees.
“(T)he purpose of this release is to ‘buy peace’ from further dispute and controversy among (King) and (Peterborough,)” the settlement agreement states.
King’s attorney, Joseph McKittrick of North Hampton, did not respond to a request for comment. MacStay, now Peterborough’s full town administrator, declined to discuss the settlement.
“It is what it is,” she said.
According to the settlement, neither side is permitted to discuss the lawsuit or settlement.
According to King’s original lawsuit, MacStay was appointed to look into King after complaints were made that he had harassed recreation department staffers. King was placed on leave without ever being presented with a copy of the complaint, according to the lawsuit.
King was invited to attend a subsequent interview with McStay and the town’s attorney, according to the lawsuit. He brought his own attorney, but was told his attorney was there as a witness and not able to offer King assistance as a legal advocate, according to the lawsuit. During the interview, he was told there had been a complaint, but not given any details about the nature of the complaint, according to the lawsuit.
During this interview, MacStay reportedly told King that his work computer had been searched by Peterborough’s I.T. Department and he was presented with a photo of what appeared to be young girls in bathing suits, the lawsuit states.
“MacStay asserted, without a basis in fact, that the picture in question was prurient in nature,” King’s lawsuit states.
However, the photo is actually of children lounging at one of the town’s pools, and is one of thousands King said he took as part of his job as the Recreation Director, the lawsuit states. The parents of children in the photo in question all signed waivers giving the town permission to use the photograph on the Recreation Department’s Facebook page, the lawsuit states.
King was subsequently told that MacStay’s investigative report recommended that he be fired. King was given the opportunity to make a case to the board of selectmen on Aug. 6, before they voted on the recommendation, but he was told he would not be allowed to present witnesses, or cross examine the witnesses against him.