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Hale 'moving on' after agreement with diocese

Former teacher ends fight, won't return to Bishop Watterson

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Former Bishop Watterson High School physical education instructor Carla Hale, who was fired March 13 when her sexual orientation became known, has ended her fight to win her job back in a settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

The settlement was ann-ounced in a joint statement issued last Thursday, Aug. 15, by Hale's attorney, Thomas Tootle, and George Jones, director of communications for the diocese. The two sides would say little beyond the statement, which reads in its entirety:

"The Diocese of Columbus and Carla Hale have concluded mediation and have mutually agreed to a resolution of their disagreements. Ms. Hale will not return to employment at Bishop Watterson High School, but will receive acknowledgement for her years of service to Bishop Watterson. Hale and the diocese stand firm on their principles but are pleased that they were able to come to a resolution.

"The parties have agreed that the terms of the settlement will be confidential."

"(Hale) is satisfied with the outcome, as is the diocese," Tootle said Friday, Aug. 16, declining to add anything more to the statement other than to recognize the participation of his co-counsel for Hale, John Marshall, "who played an instrumental role in helping us reach this outcome."

Hale, 57, was dismissed from the post she had held for 19 years with the Catholic high school in Clintonville after an anonymous letter alerted diocesan officials that she was in a same-sex relationship.

Hale listed the name of her partner in the obituary for her mother, Jean E. Roe, who died Feb. 25 at the age of 80.

The March 13 firing took place after diocesan officials concluded Hale had violated a morality clause in both her employment contract and the collective bargaining agreement of the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators.

Tootle told The Columbus Dispatch that Hale is "moving on" and plans to work as a substitute teacher.

In mid-June, Tootle said his client would seek binding arbitration with the Diocese of Columbus to win back her teaching post. She would have done so at her own expense, but on May 13, Hale called a press conference to announce that the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators, the professional association that represents teachers in the diocese, had declined to support her.

The agreement brings to a close all of Hale's efforts to return to Bishop Watterson, including a complaint filed with the Columbus Community Relations Commission.

Hale's firing created what her supporters referred to as a "Halestorm" of protests against the diocese, including some Bishop Watterson students demonstrating outside the diocesan offices after school.

More than 130,000 people, including students and alumni, signed an online petition seeking Hale's reinstatement, according to The Dispatch. A subsequent petition in support of the diocese garnered about 700 signatures.

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