Carie Charlesworth thought speaking out about her abusive ex-husband would keep her safe.
Instead, it got the California woman fired.
“That’s why women who are victims of domestic violence don’t come forward,” a teary Charlesworth told KNSD-TV. “Because they are afraid of the way people are going to see them, view them, perceive them, treat them.”
The San Diego teacher was let go from her position as a second-grade teacher after the Diocese of San Diego decided her personal life posed too much of a risk to those in her professional life.
Carie Charlesworth, a victim of domestic violence, was told by the Diocese of San Diego that she could not work at any of its schools.
“In the interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents at Holy Trinity School, we simply cannot allow you to return to work there or, unfortunately, at any other school in the Diocese,” the April termination letter read.
It all began in January when Charlesworth called police three separate times over a weekend on her ex-husband, Martin Charlesworth. When she went to school Monday, she warned her principal of the harassment and asked that police be called if the man showed up to the private school. Martin Charlesworth showed up — and the school went into lockdown.
The ex-husband was arrested and jailed on two felony counts.
But after the incident, Carie Charlesworth was put on indefinite leave and her four children, who attend the school, were kicked out as well.
Carie Charlesworth, a victim of domestic violence, was fired from Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, California, after a dispute involving her ex-husband who is currently in jail.
“That’s what it felt like, like the kids and I were punished for something we didn’t even do,” the teacher told the TV station as she wiped away tears.
The final blow came in April, when Charlesworth was formally terminated after 14 years as a teacher in the district.
"They’ve taken away my ability to care for my kids,” Charlesworth said. “It’s not like I can go out and find a teaching job anywhere.”
But that’s just want parents of students at the school want. A large number of parents allegedly told KNBC that they feared for their children’s safety if Charlesworth returned to teach. If she did, they said, they would pull their children from the school.
“That’s what it felt like, like the kids and I were punished for something we didn’t even do,” says Carie Charlesworth.
And the diocese has “ministerial exception,” meaning its teachers can be fired without cause.
Charlesworth says its causing her to lose faith in the system — and religion.
“I haven’t been back to a Catholic church since this happened,” she said.
Charlesworth plans to file a lawsuit disputing the decision. And as she grapples with her professional life, her personal life still haunts her: Her ex-husband is expected to be released from jail June 28, according to online court records.
“Everything I thought I had, I don’t,” she said.