There's something about Detroit Public Schools President Otis Mathis:
One day after facing accusations of fondling himself, Detroit Public Schools President Otis Mathis wrote a letter to colleagues today blaming "ongoing health problems" for his "poor judgment."
The letter, which attempted to rescind his resignation he submitted Thursday, doesn't explicitly address accusations from Superintendent Teresa Gueyser that he touched himself during a private meeting.
But Mathis acknowledged that he "made inappropriate actions toward a professional employee of the board" and promises to remove himself from personnel decisions involving her.
"I am following up with my doctors because I need to pursue treatment, and because I want to make sure that what happened doesn't ever happen again," Mathis said. "However, I do not need to resign in order to take care of my health."
The letter to colleagues came the same day board Vice President Anthony Adams today released a two-page letter from Gueyser accusing Mathis of fondling himself during a meeting this week. She called it his "usual habit" during one-on-one meetings. She said she tries to ignore it.
"On many occasions, I have asked him not to touch himself," she wrote in the letter dated Wednesday.
Mathis attended the board's 5 p.m. meeting today, but sat in the front row of the audience. His name plate was already removed from the board table. Adams said the board won't comment further on the controversy and is moving forward as if "he is no longer a board member."
Board member Reverend David Murray called the allegations "a terrible thing" but said he doesn't believe the 55-year-old Mathis should quit.
"It happens to a lot of young men. They engage in behavior they feel is harmless and it's offensive to certain people," Murray said. "... It could be deemed offensive, but some women are more sensitive to those types of things than others."
"I feel bad for him because he probably felt that it was something she would probably like or she got humor out of it."
Gueyser's letter describes in detail an incident during a meeting about her employment agreement. Her contract is to be reviewed tonight.
"President Mathis continued to fondle his genital area for approximately 20 minutes, or the entire time I was talking," Gueyser wrote. "At one point, I lifted some papers from my binder above my eyes to separate my peripheral view in order to avoid watching his activity."