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Sequim B&G Club’s harassment suits end

by MATTHEW NASH
Sequim Gazette

Details are vague at the end of a suit filed by two former employees against the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.

 

Club officials confirmed that they and Jessica Borries and Lindsey Richardson filed a mutual dismis-sal signed by all three parties with prejudice, meaning Borries and Richardson can’t bring further harassment charges against Stephen Rosales, a former volunteer and board member.

 

The women’s attorney, Terry Venneberg of Gig Harbor, would not confirm whether money was part of the signing agreement and said via e-mail that he couldn’t comment further on the case.

 

Len Lewicki, board president, said he would only confirm that the club has insurance and no funds out of the general contingency will be used in the matter.

 

“It has absolutely no material effect on the club’s operations,” he said.

 

Richardson filed a sexual harassment charge April 21, 2011, with the Washington State Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that Rosales physically and verbal harassed her, including “numerous sexual comments regarding other women at the facility.” She also claimed that Rosales pushed her while she was in a chair. Borries filed a complaint Aug. 15, 2011, alleging that Rosales repeatedly made inappropriate remarks about her and other women at the Sequim club.

 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the complaints shortly before Venneberg asked that the investigation stop so that the women could file suits in federal court under Chapter 7.

 

The women alleged the club discriminated against them based on sex because the clubs’ administration failed to take appropriate remedial action in response to their sexual harassment complaints.

 

Both women alleged that they complained to Mary Budke, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. Richardson wrote in her complaint that she was given the choice of transferring out of the Sequim facility or having her job changed to one with less responsibility, and that Rosales was not disciplined.

 

Borries wrote in her complaint that Budke didn’t act and she was told Rosales’ actions are “just what he does.”

Volunteer policies placed

Whether Rosales will return as a volunteer with the club is undetermined, Lewicki said.

 

Rosales said he hasn’t heard from the club, but he definitely wants to drive the club’s bus and raise funds again.

 

“Hopefully someday I get to go back,” he said. “It’s not going to happen right away.”

 

Through the year, Rosales said he wished he had been given a chance to tell his side of the story.

 

“It’s hurt my family, the club and the kids,” he said. “I always felt I didn’t do anything wrong. I hope it’s all in the past now. I’ve missed the kids with all my heart.”

 

Lewicki said to prevent future suits they’ve begun an ongoing review — predating the complaints — of operations, personnel policies, training needs and updating job descriptions.

 

Budke confirmed they’ve brought in training and labor experts to review their Sequim and Port Angeles clubs.

 

“We’re getting more consistent with personnel policies,” Budke said. “We’re going to review all of our employees in June to see how they perform and what they’ve achieved.”

 

The two clubs have 33 employees, including three full-time staff.

 

Lewicki said they’ve implemented a new outline for volunteers, which aligns in some areas with the employee policies.

 

“We need someone to deliver what’s good for our club,” he said. “They need to be supportive of the Boys & Girls Clubs and where we’re going, and continue to focus on our mission of providing a safe place for kids.”

 

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