Fired Wyandanch janitor Kwaisi McCorvey, at Suffolk County Court in...

Fired Wyandanch janitor Kwaisi McCorvey, at Suffolk County Court in Riverhead on Aug. 3, 2023. Credit: James Carbone

The Wyandanch Public Library board of trustees has fired a custodian who pleaded guilty to rape six months ago.

The four-member board voted 3-0 on Monday night, with Trustee Norman Sellers abstaining, to fire Kwaisi McCorvey, 52, of Farmingdale, from his job as head custodian for the library, a position he held for more than 15 years. The termination is effective immediately. McCorvey could not be reached for comment.

McCorvey was suspended with pay a week after his arrest at the library in February 2023.

In September, McCorvey pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and child endangerment, admitting to raping a 16-year-old in North Amityville in 2016. Newsday isn't publishing her name because she is a sexual assault victim.

Under McCorvey’s plea deal, his felony rape conviction will be dropped and only his misdemeanor endangerment conviction will remain if he completes a year of probation, according to court officials and Suffolk prosecutors.

In the resolution for his dismissal, library attorney Shawn Cullinane said McCorvey’s conviction was determined by the library board to be “misconduct as an employee of the library.”

In December, the library board voted to suspend McCorvey without pay and moved to fire him, hiring Manhattan attorney Noemi Baez to represent the library in the disciplinary hearing required by state Civil Service law.

Cullinane said in an interview that McCorvey told the library he was contesting the charges and a hearing was held on Feb. 23. Cullinane said neither McCorvey, nor an attorney representing him, attended. The library chose Lelon Means, who was hired as the library's treasurer in December, to serve as hearing officer. Means recommended the firing, Cullinane said. 

Under Civil Service law, an employee can be suspended without pay for only 30 days, according to Kevin Verbesey, director of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. McCorvey was put back on the payroll in January.

But Cullinane said McCorvey asked to push back the hearing twice since January so the library again took him off the payroll on Feb. 6. 

“The library believes Mr. McCorvey was afforded adequate opportunities to defend himself and would not accept anymore delays,” Cullinane said. 

Asked by a Newsday reporter why he abstained in the vote Monday night to fire McCorvey, Sellers declined to comment and instead referred the matter to Cullinane, who said McCorvey had claimed “some people were directly biased against him” and named Sellers, who then asked to abstain from any conversations about McCorvey.

The library is also in the midst of a $30 million lawsuit filed in September by the same victim in the criminal case, who alleges that McCorvey sexually abused her at the library between 2016 and 2018 when she was a minor. McCorvey isn't facing criminal charges related to that allegation.

A confidential memo obtained by Newsday showed the young woman reported to the library's director in 2021 that she had sexual encounters with McCorvey in the facility when she was 16, but McCorvey remained on the job, Newsday previously reported

The lawsuit names the library, McCorvey and six current and former board trustees. The library has hired the outside law firms, Manhattan-based Chartwell Law and Melville-based McAndrew, Conboy and Prisco, at rates ranging from $200 to $400 an hour to represent it in the litigation.

The firing of McCorvey drew a smattering of applause from the several people in attendance at the board meeting.

When it came time for public comments, only one person mentioned McCorvey. Resident and Wyandanch school board Trustee Kathy Corbin asked if the former custodian would collect any further pay. McCorvey, who was earning a base pay of $65,494, has consistently been one of the library’s highest-paid employees due to overtime, earning as much as $158,000 a year, according to payroll records obtained by Newsday.

Cullinane replied that he would not, but that he is “entitled to whatever vacation, sick time that he may have earned.” Cullinane said the amount would have to be calculated.

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