A New York college professor who claims that he was discrminated against for being a heterosexual man and then fired for complaining has caught the interest of the state's Human Rights Division.
Dr. Csaba Marosan told ABC News that he endured years of being ostracized by administrators at Trocaire College, a Catholic, two-year school in Buffalo, for not being part of their clique made up largely of younger, gay men dubbed the "Merry Men."
The complaint filed by Marosan, a native of Hungary, also alleges discrimination based on his accent and his gender. His allegations were investigated by New York Human Rights Division, which has found probable cause that Trocaire College not only discrminated against Marosan, but fired him in retaliation for lodging the initial complaint.
"I want some changes in the school," Marosan said. "I mean, this cannot go on."
Marosan, who holds a medical degree in Hungary but is unlicensed to pratice in the U.S., worked at Trocaire, first as an adjunct professor then as a full-time faculty member in the school's natural sciences department.
In his first complaint, filed with the Human Rights Division in April 2009, Marosan claims that the Rev. Robert Mock, dean of academic affairs for non-nursing studies, and Vice President Thomas Mitchell treated him less favorably than his female colleagues. Mock, according to the complaint, would poke fun at his customs, his clothing and his accent.
In April 2010 Marosan amended his complaint to include allegations of discrimination based on his sexual orientation. The amendment came after Marosan was fired in February in what he says was retaliation for the first Human Rights complaint.
In the amendment, Marosan claims Mock and Mitchell "are known or believed to be gay or bi-sexual."
"Mr. Mitchell and Father Mock have given preferential treatment to young and/or gay males," the complaint alleges. "Father Mock formed a group called the 'Merry Men' where these young and/or gay males would socialize on and off campus, leading to preferential treatment."
Marosan pointed to the promotions of two of the members of the so-called "Merry Men" who had less experience and education than anyone else in the department.
He claims he watched other men he believes to be gay as well as less-educated women be promoted to positions above him even though his superiors knew he was interested in a higher level teaching job.
"I have dozens of witnesses to situations I've been through there," he said.
James Grasso, an attorney for Trocaire College, emphatically denied Marosan's claims. He also couldn't speak to Mock or Mitchell's sexual orientation, saying only "those are private matters."
"The college wants the case to be dismissed," he said.
The college, in its formal response to Marosan's amended complaint, says that he was never denied a promotion over anyone based on gender or sexual orientation and that Marosan never applied for the jobs he referenced that were filled by the other staff members.
Marosan, Grasso said, "never raised any of these issues … until the thought he was going to lose his job."
Trocaire College Attorney Paints Entirely Different Picture of Embattled Professor
Grasso paints an entirely different portait of the Hungarian doctor, one in which he had to be counseled by school officials in 2008 after administrators received several complaints from female students over "repeated and inappropriate and sexually laced comments in class" during the course of his lecture's on anatomy.
But the state's findings also noted that Marosan's record showed no indication of a finding on the sexual harrassment complaint and that at least one of the student's statements was found to have been coached by Mock.
Grasso also denied that Marosan's termination had anything to do with his accusations.
"The primary reason he was let go was that the Middle States Association [of Colleges and Schools,] as part of their accredited process, came through and did an evaluation," Grasso said. "And he didn't hold what they determined was the preferred degree for the field he was teaching in."
The association wanted all professors to have master's degrees, he explained, and even though Marosan was an M.D., it wasn't a U.S.-held title.
A spokeswoman for the Human Rights Division declined to comment on its investigation, saying the office was prohibited from discussing any case until a final ruling had been issued.
According to the probable cause finding, a public hearing before an administrative judge will be scheduled within weeks.
Though Marosan was let go from the college at the beginning of the year, he continues to draw a paycheck thanks to his union contract. But he is being paid a base salary, which Grasso says is in the "mid-30s."
Marosan said he's lost about 60 percent of his pay, since he's no longer allowed to pick up extra classes, which brought his annual salary up to $75,000 or $80,000.
Though Marosan would like to be compensated for his lost wages, he said there's a larger issue at stake of changing the way things are run at Trocaire.
"This is not about personal gain," he said. "I will get what I lost either way. There is a court system for that."