Harley Joseph, a 29-year-old maintenance man at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens, was sacked in February after he offered the high school girl cash to satisfy his foot fetish, according to the special commissioner of investigation.
The victim, a student at Middle College High School, which is on the LaGuardia campus, said that Joseph first approached her in November 2011 and asked her for a lunch date.
The girl refused and wasn’t bothered by the stocky janitor again until February, when he cornered her on a campus patio and asked her if she had “nice feet,” investigators said.
Then Joseph made a sick proposition, offering her $100 to “allow him to suck ( her) toes,” investigators said.
She refused, so Joseph took out his wallet and offered her “as much money as she wanted,” investigators said. When that offer was rebuffed, too, Joseph allegedly offered to take the student to an ATM, where he would withdraw even more cash.
She said no again, and Joseph turned violent, grabbing the girl by the wrist and leading her to a place “where no one would see them,” according to investigators.
The girl broke away and reported the incident. Police began an investigation, but dropped it after learning that Joseph had already been transferred, investigators said.
The incident brings to light a possible flaw in the city’s effort to privatize the maintenance force in some of its public colleges. Joseph is one of many janitors who are screened and hired by private companies and are not subject to the same background checks that the city provides for its college staffers.
Joseph, for example, was hired by a private contractor, Perfect Building Maintenance, and began working at LaGuardia in June 2008.
Perfect Building Maintenance holds a five-year contract to provide custodial services at LaGuardia. That contract expires next year, and the company declined to comment for this story.
A spokeswoman for LaGuardia said that Perfect Building Maintenance does conduct background checks, but the company would not confirm whether Joseph got one.