Worker Claims She Was Raped, Then Fired
SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) - When a worker complained to a construction company executive that her boss had raped her, the exec replied, "I guess it wasn't that violent if it only took a few minutes," a vice president told her to keep quiet about it, and when she reported the rape to police she was fired, the woman claims in court.
Linda Stone sued Troy Construction and Gilbert Serna in Federal Court, alleging sexual harassment, assault and battery, retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Serna was her supervisor, Stone says in the 12-page complaint. She claims that as she and he were getting fast food on their lunch break on Jan. 29, 2013, Serna told her he needed to go to his house to bandage an injured knee.
At the house, she says, Serna called her into his bedroom.
"As soon as plaintiff entered the room, defendant Serna attacked plaintiff, forcefully removing her pants and raping her," the complaint states.
"The rape resulted in plaintiff becoming depressed," she adds.
The complaint continues: "For several weeks, plaintiff was scared to speak of the rape and internally buried the attack.
"On or about February 21, 2013, plaintiff confided in defendant Troy's shop supervisor, Charlie Rohan, that defendant Serna had raped her.
"Immediately thereafter, with supervisor Rohan's assistance, plaintiff reported the rape during a meeting with defendant Troy's vice president, John Lohman, and defendant Troy's head of safety, Scott Shook.
"After hearing plaintiff's report, Mr. Shook asked plaintiff how long the rape had taken; plaintiff told him that it took a few minutes.
"Mr. Shook then responded, 'I guess it wasn't violent if it only took a few minutes.'"
That response caused her more humiliation and anguish, Stone says.
Then, according to the complaint, "VP Lohman informed plaintiff that defendant Troy would not take any action since the incident did not take place on defendant Troy's property.
"VP Lohman further told plaintiff that he would 'appreciate it if [plaintiff] kept quiet about it.'" (Brackets in complaint.)
The company did not discipline Serna, Stone says.
She reported the rape to the Pennsylvania State Police on Feb. 27, 2013.
The complaint continues: "A couple of days later, the police arrested defendant Serna at defendant's station and charged him with rape, among other crimes.
"On or about March 9, 2013, defendant Troy's head superintendent, Shane Landry, and defendant Troy's manager, Mike Stringer, met with plaintiff and informed her that she was being laid off due to the conclusion of several of defendant Troy's contracts.
"Defendant Troy's reason for said 'layoff' was pretext.
"In fact, defendant Troy fired plaintiff in retaliation for her reporting the rape internally to defendant Troy and/or externally to the police."
Stone seeks punitive damages.
She is represented by Matthew Miller, with Swartz Swidler, of Cherry Hill, N.J.
The only defendants are Troy Construction and Serna.