Federal judge sides with Baltimore schools in lawsuit filed by ousted Dunbar boys basketball coach Keith Booth

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McKenna Oxenden, The Baltimore Sun
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A federal judge sided with the Baltimore school system in a lawsuit former Dunbar boys basketball coach Keith Booth filed last year in which he argued that he was “scapegoated” when he was fired from his alma mater after what he says was the mishandling of an incident of student sexual misconduct.

Booth was suing the city school board, schools CEO Sonja Santelises, Dunbar principal Yetunde Reeves and Jerome Jones, the director of labor relations and negotiations for the school. U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema issued the summary judgment Feb. 16 and did not elaborate on her decision.

Booth, who played at the University of Maryland from 1993 to 1997 and for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls during parts of two seasons, alleged he was let go in February 2020 in an “extreme and defamatory way.”

The lawsuit says his dismissal came after he learned of and informed administrators of “improper sexual interaction between a Dunbar junior varsity basketball student athlete and a female student manager on a team bus ride.” The alleged incident happened as the team returned Jan. 11, 2020, from a tournament, although the lawsuit said he didn’t become aware of it until weeks later.

A letter was released to the Dunbar community at the time saying Booth was no longer the coach and that the incident was under investigation. Booth’s attorney alleges in the lawsuit that the letter wrongly implied that Booth was at fault, despite the fact that he had confronted both students and alerted the assistant principal.

Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.