News

Attorney asks investigation be stopped in Rosales case

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

In a letter to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wrote that the agency has stopped processing a claim filed against the clubs by former Sequim club employee Lindsey Richardson. But the news isn’t all good for the clubs.

 

Richardson’s attorney, Terry A. Venneberg of Gig Harbor, says he asked the EEOC to end its investigation to allow Richardson to file suit against the clubs.

 

Another club employee, Jessica Borries, 27, has stepped forward with allegations against Rosales and also plans to sue, Venneberg said. He said he advised both women to defer to him for any comments involving the allegations.

 

Richardson filed her EEOC complaint against the club because she allegedly was subjected to harassment by Stephen Rosales, a former volunteer and board member with the club.

 

Rosales said he did not know about the potential lawsuits, but he said the claims have no merit.

 

“These accusations are absolutely not true and if it was, I never would have run for school board,” Rosales said.

 

He said Borries at one time watched his children. He added that his duties driving the Sequim club’s bus and serving at the front counter didn’t lead them to interact much.

 

“I thought I had a good relationship with her,” he said.

Complaints filed

Venneberg filed Richardson’s complaint with the EEOC on April 21. In it Richardson alleged Rosales subjected her to physical and verbal harassment, including “numerous sexual comments regarding other women at the facility.”

 

Venneberg said the EEOC had no findings regarding Richardson’s complaint, but said the women plan to sue the clubs.

 

“Basically, all that’s happened is we’ve made a request for the right-to-sue letters and we’ve received one and expect to receive another shortly,” he said.

 

In a complaint dated Aug. 15 to the EEOC, Borries alleges Rosales (identified as a board member, donor and volunteer) repeatedly made inappropriate remarks about her and other women at the club.

 

“In June or July of 2010, as he was walking into the building, he remarked that he didn’t know I had such big boobs,” she said in the charge of discrimination. “The remark was made in front of several other staff members and I was extremely embarrassed.”

 

Borries said he made inappropriate remarks about her appearance on a regular basis and when she complained to her supervisor she was told to file a complaint.

 

However, as she prepared to file her complaint in April 2011, she was told Rosales no longer would be allowed in the building, she said. According to the charge, he continued to show up and when he did she either was sent home or told to “hide out.”

 

Borries alleges club Executive Director Mary Budke did not take her complaints seriously and tolerates Rosales’ behavior saying, “It’s just what he does.”

 

Budke said Borries remains a teen room staff member and that she made a complaint to her supervisor and administration investigated promptly.

 

“We concluded our internal investigation and I can’t disclose personnel matters,” Budke said.

Unaware of lawsuits

Jerry Sinn, board president of the clubs, said their attorneys haven’t received anything from Venneberg and he wasn’t aware of any potential suits. Sinn said he’s glad the EEOC’s investigation of Richardson’s complaint is over.

 

“It consumes a lot of time and there’s no winners or losers from these things,” he said. “It’s just hard on all parties and the worst part is it distracts from our mission of providing programs and services for our kids.”

Rosales told the Gazette he’s saddened by the impact it’s taken on everybody.

 

He resigned from the board of directors in mid-September to focus on his school board campaign. “I was tired of all this and the lightning rod it’s become,” Rosales said. “It’s taking a toll on my family, me and the club.”

 

Rosales said he loves the club and misses it greatly.

 

“I would volunteer again, without question,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s not about Lindsey. It’s about the kids.”

 

Budke said that if claims were to be dropped, she’s not sure what the future would hold for Rosales if he were to volunteer again. “I miss him and the work he’s done,” she said. “He’s put a lot of sweat equity into the club.”
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