While Senator Claire McCaskill has engaged in political subterfuge by pushing a “war on women” against her opponent Representative Todd Akin, her husband’s Illinois business is being sued for sexual harassment.
A female marketing employee of Sugar Creek, one of the largest and most valuable of Joe Shephard’s properties, filed suit against the company in 2009. Shepherd is the husband of Senator McCaskill who has before come under fire for having been accused of being “slumlord.”
The plaintiff alleges that she was repeatedly subjected to sexual harassment while employed at Sugar Creek and that management routinely participated. Documents show that the plaintiff worked at an apartment complex managed by Sugar Creek and her deposition details how tried to notify upper management at the company of the situation. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, she was asked in front of others to put on underwear other people had worn, she was followed into a restroom and barred exit, forcing her to watch simulated sex acts, and more. The plaintiff says she was targeted because she is a woman. On page 16 of the deposition (page 5 of the pdf) Sugar Creek’s attorney verifies that she is employed at Sugar Creek:
Q: What was your job at Sugar Creek? A: I handled marketing, and then I also showed apartments and took care of move-ins and move-outs, and pictures of the apartments.
During the deposition with the lawyer for Sugar Creek, the plaintiff was asked about her past as a model in a way that suggests her alleged trauma of her experience should receive less legal consideration. Excerpts from the deposition: Page 6:
I walked into the office and – on Thursdays—to start off with, every Thursday, I would walk in to empty bottles; liquor bottles, beer bottles, empty bottles of vodka, whiskey, rum, alcohol. And it just smelled awful. Somebody had to clean all that up. And, frequently, there would be broken plants, broken furniture, broken dishes, other things that I’d have to clean up; and the maintenance people would help do that sometimes, but sometimes I’d have to do all of it myself. And it was the entire main office that had to be cleaned up before we opened the front doors. So that, I expected.
Q: Okay. What happened next? A: I put them over my jeans, just thinking they would just stop and, you know: There, that makes them happy. They’re on. Can we move on from the situation now? And then I took them off and I went to the bathroom. They followed me into the bathroom with the shorts, with the underwear, and wanted me to wear them because they wanted to have their fashion show. So Teri started to unbutton my pants and pull them down. At that point, I realized she was so impaired that my pants were coming off. They were—if I didn’t take them off, she was taking them off. Q: Let me ask you a question, ma’am: Why didn’t you just leave? A: Kim was behind me. Teri was in front of me, and Teri had her hands on my pants, unbuttoning them. Q: Were they physically restraining you? A: I would say that’s restrained. Yes.
The plaintiff goes into graphic detail about the alleged frat house-style work environment she endured daily. The plaintiff stated in her deposition that she filed a report with her employers’ superiors but that they “didn’t pursue anything beyond that.” She states in her complaint that her employers’s behavior ultimately forced her from her job. A bench trial is reportedly scheduled for October 30th.
*The name of the alleged victim has been redacted here.