A man whose alleged harassment—in the form of creepy late-night emails and incessant phone calls—led Morgan Hill Unified trustee Amy Porter-Jensen to resign and obtain a court protective order in 2015 is now running for a spot on the seven-member board.
Robert Guynn is up against Carol Gittens and Jill Provencal for the Area 4 seat.
Guynn’s correspondence with his friend and MHUSD trustee David Gerard came to light when Fly’s colleagues at the Morgan Hill Times unearthed a trove of emails between the two in which the latter—using his district email address—called Porter-Jensen “Bully PJ” and said she had a “big ass” and wore “slut shoes.”
It was humiliating for the subject of their disparagement, who, in her mid-30s at the time, was the youngest person on the board and new to politics. Porter-Jensen says she would get about 40 to 50 emails a day from Guynn.
She was taken aback by his bid for office.
“I was pretty surprised to see that Guynn would put himself in a position to have his harassment allegations resurface by running for a seat on the MHUSD board,” she says.
As was Donna Ruebusch, the only other woman on the board when Porter-Jensen resigned and for a year thereafter.
“I feel I was a witness to [the harassment] because I would get calls late at night from Amy, who would tell me about this guy calling her at midnight and being incredibly inappropriate,” Ruebusch says. “She was worried about her safety.”
That Guynn has the gall to try to replace her is “a slap in the face for all women,” adds Santa Clara County Board of Education trustee Claudia Rossi. Rossi, a former Morgan Hill Unified trustee, is defending her own seat on the county board against another active participant in the Guynn-Gerard email chains: Gino Borgioli.
To add insult to injury, when Ruebusch tried to get the board to authorize the district to represent Porter-Jensen so she could finish her case against Guynn, trustees Borgioli, Gerard and Rick Badillo—who, incidentally, was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of domestic violence—voted against it.
Guynn dismissed Porter-Jensen’s concern about his political aspirations as disingenuous. Gerard was the one who sent the sexually suggestive emails, though Guynn says he never told him to stop. He believes the restraining order against him was nothing more than an attempt to sully his reputation.
“I sent one questionable email,” says Guynn, a photographer by trade. “Just one. That was it. I realize that I sent it in the middle of the night, but it was basically along the lines of, ‘I was thinking about you but didn’t want to.’”
But Guynn maintains his innocence, calls Porter-Jensen’s claims a complete fabrication and insists that the whole fiasco was “a setup,” although he declined Tuesday to elaborate on who set him up and why.
When pressed, he had his wife send a letter his attorney submitted to the school district in 2015 to refute a comment by Ruebusch about how the vote against Porter-Jensen’s legal representation signaled that threats against women are not serious.
They also forwarded a sworn statement they would have submitted in court had Porter-Jensen continued her civil harassment case three years ago. In the document, Guynn suggests that Porter-Jensen was trying to lead him on, citing a phone call one evening in which he says she spoke in an “unmistakably affectionate and suggestive manner.”
“The next day ... I wondered whether Ms. Jensen was ‘playing me,’ trying to influence my political activities as I was hers,” he states in the never-before-released affidavit.
Porter-Jensen disputes his telling of events.
“He seemed to have a very distorted perception of the nature of our relationship,” she says, “which caused me to question his emotional stability then, and to this day.”