Florida principal resigns amid sex scandal; he's also the mayor
(CBS) - A suburban Florida mayor has resigned as a high school principal after he allegedly harassed female staff members at the school, some of whom reportedly received offers of promotions in exchange for sex, CBS affiliate WTSP reports.
Steve Van Gorden, 37, resigned from Zephyrhills High School last week after officials collected more than 300 pages of emails, text messages and Facebook comments with female subordinates over a three-year period.
"There's just no other way to say it other than that I did not make good decisions when interacting with female staff," Van Gorden said, according to WTSP. "It's horrible. It's just horrible and I feel so sorry."
According to some reports, Van Gorden sought sexual favors, which he referred to sometimes as "stress relief," and veiled promises of career advancement.
"I just want to say to those that were impacted, I'm really, really sorry and I hope at one point in time they can forgive my mistake," WTSP quoted Van Gorden as saying.
The Pasco School Board accepted Van Gorden's resignation unanimously following their investigation of the accusations.
The single father of two acknowledged that his behavior was inappropriate and said he never fully addressed his divorce when he and his wife separated four years ago. Van Gorden said the hardest part now was trying to explain his situation to his children.
"For me to have those conversations - they were gut-wrenching," he said.
Van Gorden still retains his position as mayor of Zephyrhills on Florida's central gulf coast, and does not believe his resignation as principal should influence his political position.
But some residents feel differently.
"Who's to say if his judgment in that area, which is such a sensitive area is so poor, how can you trust him to make any good decisions?" said Marcia Johnson, a Zephyrhills resident.
- Jury foreman: Jodi Arias "not a good witness"
- Atty.: New Trayvon Martin texts, photos are "red herrings"
- Hung jury reportedly emotional at Jodi Arias trial
- W.Va. girl pleads guilty in the killing of Skylar Neese, 16
- Hung jury in Arias penalty phase, new panel to be chosen
- Kaitlyn Hunt: "I'm scared of losing the rest of my life..."
- Kaitlyn Hunt rejects plea deal in underage sex case
- Cops: N.Y. girl leaves suicide note claiming she was bullied
- School security guard allegedly pushes girl down stairs
- Investigator: Missing Iowa teen's blood found
- Woman guilty of stabbing fiance to death on wedding day
- Fla. man accidentally calls 911 and reveals murder plan
- Atty: Charges will not be dropped in Kaitlyn Hunt case
- Fla. girl, 18, charged over underage same-sex relationship
- Police: Boston math tutor also meth trafficker
- Plea deadline is today for Fla. teen Kaitlyn Hunt