PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - A civil lawsuit filed against Louisiana College and its president, Dr. Rick Brewer, by a former football player who said he was denied an opportunity to return to the school as a coach due to his family’s Jewish history has been settled out of court.
The college issued a statement Tuesday about a “confidential settlement negotiation” with Joshua Bonadona after it said both sides were urged to engage in mediation by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. The release said there has been a “cessation of litigation against the college instituted by Mr. Bonadona.”
The statement said that Bonadona had agreed to the cessation “in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount and in an effort to bring peace.”
Bonadona is quoted in the release as saying,” This has been a difficult time for us all. However, in the spirit of Jesus, I acknowledge President Brewer’s position that he did not make any decisions about my employment with the College based upon my family’s Jewish heritage.
“My attendance at Louisiana College changed my life. I hold the college in the highest regard. The resolution of this matter will allow the closure of this part of my life. I wish the Louisiana College family the best of luck in the future.”
The civil suit stemmed from a hiring decision in 2017 after Justin Charles was named head coach of the LC football program. Bonadona, who graduated in 2013 and converted to Christianity while at LC, claimed in the suit that his civil rights were violated when he was not hired for the position of defensive backs coach due to his ancestry of having "Jewish blood” from his mother.
Bonadona said that in his application, he identified himself as a member of the Baptist denomination of Christianity. Bonadona claims that when he had his interview for the position, Dr. Brewer asked about his parents' religious affiliations, to which Bonadona replied that his father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish.
Bonadona claims he "repeatedly made it clear that he was a practicing member of the Christian faith." Bonadona claims that Charles made a full recommendation to hire him and told him the "position was his and only needed to get final approval of Dr. Brewer as a formality." Bonadona said that he was the highest qualified candidate for the position, and that Charles only recommended him for the position.
Based upon those assurances, Bonadona quit his job at Southeastern Missouri State University.
Bonadona said about a week after his interview, Charles called him and told him that "despite the recommendation to Dr. Brewer, Louisiana College had decided not to hire Mr. Bonadona because of his 'Jewish descent.’” Bonadona said when he asked Charles what that meant, Charles said "that Dr. Brewer refused to approve Mr. Bonadona's hiring because of what Dr. Brewer called Mr. Bonadona's 'Jewish blood.'"
Bonadona was seeking all available damages including back pay, lost benefits, costs associated with obtaining a new job, general damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees, and costs.
At the time of the lawsuit being filed, an attorney for LC issued a statement, saying, “The college wholeheartedly denies the allegations, looks forward to being in court and the dismissal of the lawsuit."
As part of Tuesday’s release, Dr. Brewer said, “The College is pleased to obey 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, which verses encourage Christians to settle disputes among themselves. We pray God’s richest blessings upon Mr. Bonadona.”
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