November 29, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The wife of New Mexico basketball coach Craig Neal attacked a school administrator and Albuquerque’s school superintendent didn’t do enough to prevent the attack, according to a new lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by former Eldorado High School assistant principal Susan Stanojevic this month claims Janet Neal assaulted Stanojevic following a boys’ high school basketball game in Albuquerque.
Neal grabbed Stanojevic by her arm and physically jerked her around because Neal was upset that Stanojevic reported her for cursing at the refs at a previous game, the lawsuit said. Neal’s son played for Eldorado.
Stanojevic told police that after a Feb. 21 game, Janet Neal “lunged at me and aggressively grabbed my left arm, yanking me to face her,” according to an Albuquerque Police Department report. “At the same time, she put her face close to mine and in an angry, loud voice, stated, ‘the next time you want to accuse me of using profanity at a basketball game, you need to talk to me first.’”
The confrontation apparently stemmed from a prior exchange in which Stanojevic claimed to have overheard Neal making verbally abusive remarks about the referees following a game also involving her son, according to the police report.
Neal’s attorney denied the allegations.
No criminal charges were filed against Neal.
Stanojevic says she was forced from her job as a result of the confrontation. The lawsuit says the Albuquerque Public Schools board violated policy and retaliated against her.
The district declined to comment on the lawsuit.
In a supplementary report by APD investigator officer Christian Baker, Neal said that she “did not grab Susan forcefully nor did she threaten her.”
Later in the report Neal said she did not “grab her, I did not threaten her and I did not feel physical (toward) her.”
Albuquerque Superintendent Winston Brooks says after the altercation Neal was required to sit with a school police officer at a subsequent game.
University of New Mexico spokesman Frank Mercogliano did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press.