Assaulted & Fired at Wal-Mart, Mom Says
AKRON, Ohio (CN) - A developmentally disabled Wal-Mart employee was sexually assaulted by her 72-year-old co-worker and fired after she reported the attacks, her guardian says in court.
Barbara Wells says her daughter, Jamie, is developmentally disabled and has the ability to consent similar to that of "a young child who is manipulated into behavior by an adult."
Jamie had worked for Wal-Mart as an associate since 1999, but she "started to exhibit behavioral changes, such as increased anger and irritability," in 2005, according to the complaint.
"During the course of J. Wells' employment, a coworker, Francis Benny Cameron, repeatedly had unauthorized, nonconsentual and harmful sexual and physical contact with J. Wells."
Wal-Mart allegedly learned that Jamie and Cameron had engaged in "inappropriate conduct" in 2005, but Jamie did not report the sexual harassment to her managers until Dec. 15, 2010, according to the complaint.
"On or about December 18, 2010, Wal-Mart terminated Cameron's employment," the complaint states.
"Cameron and his attorney visited the Wal-Mart store in January 2011 to complain that he was wrongfully terminated.
"On or about January 7, 2011, Wal-Mart terminated J. Wells' employment."
Wells says she and Jamie immediately filed a police report, and that Cameron admitted to having "had sexual contact with J. Wells."
"Cameron pleaded guilty to gross sexual imposition," according to the complaint.
The details correspond with Cameron's profile on the Ohio sex offender registry, which notes that he turned 79 years old this year.
Wells says her daughter now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
She sued Wal-Mart and three of its employees, Tammy Spradlin, Mike Smith and Cindy Wenhart, for punitive damages and reinstatement of Jamie at the store.
The complaint alleges for gender and disability discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, assault, battery, negligent hiring and supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Wells is represented by attorney Louis Gigliotti Jr.