LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Babylon town employee suspended for reportedly writing hateful comments about a Muslim student claims he’s not responsible for the hostile writings.
The controversial post was directed at a 17-year-old Lindenhurst High School senior Yasmin Zohny, a top honors student who wears a hijab.READ MORE: Bronx High-Rise Victims Remembered With Public Funeral, Officials Pledge To Keep Up Support For Survivors
In a video posted by the school, she can be seen donning the Muslim head covering and talking about inclusiveness.
“Even the people who have not been kind to me have taught me something I’m going to take with me,” she said.
Her message was apparently lost on one person when the video was posted to Facebook. A comment, laced with expletives, ordered the young woman to take “the trash bag off your head.”
The post bears 51-year-old Andy Vita’s name, but the father of two claims a hacker was behind the derogatory post.
“People are nasty, I don’t know what to say,” he exclusively told CBS2’s Jessica Borg.
Vita’s wife Jen says Andy doesn’t hate anyone, and the family called police to their Lindenhurst home on Friday.
“It’s a computer crime and anybody who looks up the definition of a computer crime, it’s somebody that was hacked, or uses their account without permission,” Jen said.READ MORE: Exclusive: Witness Describes 'Surreal' Deadly Subway Push In Times Square
Suffolk Police confirm to CBS2 that a police report was filed and they are investigating the Vitas’ claims, but they won’t say whether a cyber crime is at play.
Meanwhile, the town of Babylon — where Vita has worked as an equipment operator for 30 years — is seeking to terminate him.
Town Supervisor Rich Schaefer says Vita’s alleged hateful rhetoric, although legal, is “unbecoming of a public employee.”
“There is going to be consequences to what you say,” he told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff earlier this week, adding that town attorneys have “gathered evidence that’ll lead to several charges” against Vita.
One of the main ones, Schaefer said, is “writing the comment on town time.”
In the wake of the allegations, Vita has been suspended without pay for 30 days. His wife claims they’re “the ones suffering right now because he’s not working.”
Still, despite the controversy the couple says they wish the teenage girl at the center it all well.
In a statement, Zohny wrote, “It is important that things like this don’t get swept under the rug, because while I know I can handle this, there is a chance that a young girl somewhere, wearing her hijab for the first time, can’t handle it.”
At the end of the 30-day suspension, Vita will have a disciplinary hearing that’ll determine whether he keeps his job.MORE NEWS: New Yorkers Urged To Wrap Up Holiday Weekend Travel Before Sunday Evening Storm
His union says it will have no comment until the investigations are complete.