Archive for sexual misconduct

Washington state resort owner investigated second time by EEOC for sexual harassment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) opened a second investigation into resort owner Perfil “Pete” Cam on May 20, 2019, according to an article in The Columbian.

According to legal documents, Cam subjected female employees of Bonneville Hot Springs Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort LLC to numerous types of sexual advances, including unwanted kisses, hugs, rubbing, touching their breasts and pressing against them, in some cases with his erect penis. He also made lewd sexual comments, propositioned them sexually and made remarks about their bodies and clothes.

The complaint filed in the US District Court in Tacoma specifically names female employee Holly Nelson but was filed on behalf of all female employees at the two resorts. Nelson left her position as a massage therapist at Bonneville Hot Springs Resort in 2016 to escape the unwanted sexual harassment, she states in a lawsuit she filed in January in Skamania County Circuit Court. The descriptions of treatment detailed in Nelson’s lawsuit dovetail with those described in the EEOC complaint filed this year.

The EEOC previously investigated the two resorts and Cam in 2008. In EEOC vs. Bonneville Hot Springs, Inc. six female employees filed complaints of sex discrimination against the company and its owner, Cam, and the Food and Beverage manager, Kenneth Favela. Three of the six women filed complaints against Favela – Christine Sibbert, Heather Gibbons and Kista Larson.

That case resulted in a $470,000 award to the plaintiffs in the sexual harassment and retaliation case. That case uncovered rampant sexual harassment in the resorts that extended beyond Cam and Favela, including the executive chef of Bonneville.

Even EEOC officials referred to the level of sexual misconduct in the 2008 case as “shocking.”

In an interview after the court decision, Mike Baldonado, acting director of the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office called the Bonneville behavior “inexcusable,” but felt sure that the findings and punishment of the EEOC case would end the problems.

“The treatment that these women experienced by the owner was inexcusable. I am glad the EEOC was able to ensure that the company has protections in place so this will not happen in the future,” Baldonado said in a 2008 interview.

The 2019 case alleges that Cam continues the same practices. He regularly grabs “female employees’ hands, arms, and/or wrists and did not let go,” the women said in the complaint. In one woman’s experience he “pressed his erect penis up against” her. He caresses and pulls female employees’ hair. According to the court filing, Cam avoids having the behavior caught on the resorts’ video surveillance cameras by requiring its female employees to meet him in areas of the resort not covered by the surveillance system.

One employee interviewed by The Columbian, the housekeeping manager for the Carson Hot Springs resort, Katarina Molodih said she had not observed Cam behaving in such a way. She has worked at the resort for two years.

“It’s not true. Pete’s a nice guy. He’s just a good guy. I don’t believe it. I’ve worked here for more than two years and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Some employees of the resort knew of the original complaint and had expected it to provide a safer set of working conditions. The current, second EEOC complaint seeks a jury trial. The current plaintiffs want a verdict that forces the resort to enforce EEOC policies to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment and that provides equal opportunity. Nelson’s lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for the female employees of the two resorts for “emotional pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.” It also asks for back pay with interest.

Android Inventor Accused of Sexual Misconduct Gets $90 million in Severance and $150 Million Stock Grant

According to a lawsuit, Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Larry Page gave Andy Rubin, creator of Android, a $150 million stock grant without getting any board approval. The company is accused of covering up his alleged misconduct when he left the company in October 2014. At the time of his leaving, Page said that he wished Andy the best in a public statement.

Page did get approval for the compensation package from the board committee over a week after granting the payout to Rubin. In addition to the stock grant, he also received a $90 million severance package.

Allegations in the lawsuit pull Page into the controversy that surrounds how Google handled the sexual harassment complaints against Rubin. Usually, the Alphabet co-founder stays behind the scenes and Google CEO Sundar Pichari deals with the criticism of the company culture. Inventors claim that the board failed in its duties by allowing the harassment to happen and approved the big payouts while keeping the details private. The complaint targets top committee members and executives, including the Alphabet Chief Legal Officer.

An employee had accused Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman was having an extramarital affair when he forced her into performing oral sex while in a hotel room in 2013. Google investigated the claim and concluded that the claim was credible.

Instead of just firing him and paying him nothing on the way out, he was awarded a huge settlement and that’s what the plaintiffs are complaining about. Rubin’s settlement was paid in installments of about $2 million a month for four years. The last payment ended in November 2018. The lead lawyer has said that their own investigation showed there was harassment, but there were still large payouts.

The complaint was made public in March 2019 at a California state court in San Jose. The suit was originally filed in January, but some claims were blocked from the public.

After news of this, the company was pressured to make changes last year. Tens of thousands of Google workers walked out of work in November to protest how the company handled the sexual misconduct claims. Google has promised to be more forceful in handling these cases.

Sheriff of Small Texas County Sued for Sexual Misconduct

One thing that is certain, which came out of the thousands of personal stories recounted on the MeToo Movement, is that sexual harassment is not limited to Hollywood producers, actors, and politicians. It can also happen in any workplace, anywhere, where one person has power and authority over another one.

It Can Happen in a Small Town

These allegations can occur even in lowly-populated rural areas such as the recent lawsuit filed in federal court in Waco, Texas. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Shirley Boger, alleges sexual misconduct by Sheriff Ricky Scaman. He is the county sheriff for nearby Falls County. Falls County only has about 18,000 people. The biggest town is Marlin, TX, where the sheriff’s office is located, with a population of around 6,000.

History of Sexual Abuse Allegations

The recent civil lawsuit by Shirley Boger is the second time Sheriff Scaman has been sued by a county employee alleging sexual misconduct. The first lawsuit was filed by Nanci Anderson in April 2018. She worked as an assistant chief deputy for Scaman. In Anderson’s suit, she alleges that Scaman subjected her to sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and created a work environment, which was so hostile that she was forced to quit.

Boger vs. Scaman

Boger worked as a dispatcher and jailer for the sheriff’s department. Sheriff Scaman was her boss. The lawsuit claims that Scaman has a history of discriminatory behavior against female employees who work for the sheriff’s department that he supervises.

In the suit, Boger claims that on one occasion Scaman invited her into his private office, closed the door, and asked her if she had been thinking about him. She also alleges that this type of encounter happened more than 20 times. Some of these times she claims he licked her face, groped her body, and then sexually assaulted her.

Scaman’s Defense

Scaman denies the claims. He refuses to comment on the case except through his attorney. His attorney says that Boger was terminated after she walked off the job, during the middle of a shift, while Scaman was on vacation in Mexico. There was no dispute alleged to have occurred with the supervisor in charge at that time, who was the chief deputy.

After Boger quit, she continued to exchange text message with Scaman. Scaman’s attorney says these communications do not reference any sexual misconduct. The defense attorney says it is inconceivable that the text messages would continue if Boger had been raped more than 20 times in the tiny sheriff’s office that is surrounded by other personnel.

Lawsuit against Alphabet, Inc. Alleges Sexual Misconduct

Alphabet, Inc., parent company of Google, is facing a lawsuit over allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Shareholders decided to sue directors of the company after Andy Rubin (the creator of Android and former Google employee) was granted a $90 million severance payment.

The investors who are part of the suit claim that Alphabet’s board of directors not only allowed harassment to occur, but also took measures to keep it private.

Claims that Rubin sexually harassed employees were found to be credible, and shareholders are targeting some of the top executives who tried to keep Rubin’s behavior quiet; these executives include Larry Page, Sergey Brin, John Doerr, Ram Shriram, and David Drummond.

In light of Rubin’s actions and the subsequent coverup, thousands of employees at Google protested via a walkout. This action by employees did cause the management to change some of its policies, including those regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace.

A statement from one of the employees who was an integral part of the walkout reveals that Google employees support the shareholders and their lawsuit. The employee also stated “Anyone who enables abuse, harassment and discrimination must be held accountable, and those with the most power have the most to account for.”

There is also speculation that another former Google employee, Amit Singhal, sexually harassed others in the workplace. Like Rubin, he quietly left the company with a large severance package.

After the allegations against Rubin were found to be credible, a shareholder filed a complaint with Google’s audit and compensation committees. Among others on these committees were Page and Brin.

Rubin’s lawyer, Ellen Winick Stross, made a statement saying that the claims against Rubin are sensationalized and that he does not admit to any sexual misconduct.

While shareholders are suing Google for the mishandling of the sexual misconduct, Google admitted to releasing 48 people due to sexual harassment without offering any severance packages.

Because the lawsuit is being filed by Google shareholders, any money won will go back to Google. The point of the lawsuit is to force a change in the company at the corporate level. The name of the case is Martin v. Page, 19-cv-00164, California Superior Court, San Mateo County (Redwood City).

Lichtenegger Victim’s Family: Church Knew History of Sexual Violence; Allowed Access to Children Anyway

The family of SM East student Kessler Lichtenegger’s latest victims have filed a lawsuit against the Westside Family Church in Lenexa this week, claiming that although church leaders were aware of his prior sexual misconduct and history of sexual violence, it did not deter them from allowing him unsupervised access to minors.

While a lawyer for the church states that Westside Family Church officials deny the allegation, the civil petition filed by lawyers Antwaun Smith and Rebecca Randles claims that Lichtenegger, who lived in Prairie Village, had an extensive history of sexual abuse which had previously resulted in the church requiring his father’s accompaniment as a condition of his presence at the church. Filed in Johnson County District Court Wednesday afternoon, the lawsuit alleges that the church didn’t even follow its own guidelines, allowing Lichtenegger to supervise and interact with young children.

Lichtenegger previously pleaded guilty to attempted electronic solicitation and attempted rape last year, in charges related to having a sexual interaction on church property with one of the defendants while a children’s church service was in progress. At the time, Lichtenegger was 17, and a volunteer at the church’s vacation Bible school during the summer of 2014 and the victim, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe 31, was 13. Lichtenegger, has had past convictions as a juvenile, and is now serving a 17-year sentence for the crimes against the two plaintiffs. While past conviction records are closed, the lawsuit claims the defendant pleaded guilty to an earlier sexual felony as well as pleaded guilty to the assault of a 15-year-old developmentally disabled girl in 2012.

The lawsuit alleges that while the plaintiff’s parents trusted the church and thought their children were safe church while in attendance, the church knew of Lichtenegger’s previous extensive past crimes of sexual misconduct with kids, but nevertheless allowed him dangerous and unsupervised access to children in the congregation.

While the lawsuit alleges that “All key church leaders admitted to law enforcement officers that the church did not enforce its own protocols meant to prevent Lichtenegger from gaining access to children,” Brad Russell, an attorney for the church said, “Nothing specific was communicated to the church that suggested he had been adjudicated as a sexual predator or was a sexual threat to young people”, though he admits that even though church protocol previously had dictated that Lichtenegger was to be in his father’s supervision at the church, his father was not there and he was not supervised on the day of the assault. Police were originally contacted by church officials after discovering the existence of a “sexting incident” between the defendant and Jane Doe 32, and learned about Jane Westside-family-church-parents-quoteDoe 31’s sexual assault during that investigation.

One of the parents of victim Jane Doe 33 released a statement Thursday, saying: “We are hoping this lawsuit will bring awareness of the need for better sexual predator policies to be put into place and firmly administered at Westside as well as other organizations and venues where parents have a right to expect their children are safe.”

Randles stressed the importance of not allowing people with a known history of sexual misconduct with children to have access to kids, stating, “Pedophiles flock to places where children congregate.” The church has recently added more lighting, cameras and other safeguards; new members are screened to ensure they aren’t on Kansas’ sex offender registry, and background checks for family ministry volunteers have been expanded. Additionally, according to Russell, the church has adopted a policy of excluding people with sexual misconduct histories from church membership.