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Monday, April 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Boss of the Week

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (CN) - A McDonald's manager picked up a 15-year-old employee at her high school, told her she was "excused" from work, then drugged her and had sex with her for days - and she was fired and he was promoted, she claims in Federal Court.

The woman, M.M., says McDonald's recruited her at her high school in 2007 and hired her when she was 15 - which was illegal right off the bat. Her shift supervisor, Jacob Wayne Peterson, was 21 at the time.

She says Peterson asked her to work an extra shift about a month after she started, and told her he would pick her up from her school to take her to work. He did pick her up, told her, "You're excused from work," then took her to a house "where he supplied her with methamphetamine, marijuana, LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), and alcoholic beverages," according to the complaint.

Then he took her home, gave her more weed, "and had sexual intercourse with her on two separate occasions," she says.

Her grandfather reported her missing, and police found Peterson and cited him for drug possession, according to the complaint. M.M. says she told police they had had sex, and she was taken to a hospital emergency room, and eventually to the Wyoming Behavioral Institute, where she was treated for 62 days.

While receiving treatment, and unable to work for 2 consecutive weeks, McDonald's "would have presumed plaintiff 'voluntarily terminated' her employment," and she did terminated "as a result of the sexual harassment and assault she was subjected to by her supervisor," she says.

When McDonald's learned of the accusations against Peterson, it "conducted an in-house 'investigation' which consisted of speaking to defendant Peterson, who denied the allegations of drug possession and sexual harassment," according to the complaint.

M.M. says McDonald's did not interview anyone else, including other workers. "Defendant McDonald's subsequently promoted defendant Peterson following its investigation to 'Red Zone Manager,'" the complaint states.

But nearly a year later, "after being informed by Wyoming Labor Standards that its supervisor defendant Peterson was lying, defendant McDonald's suspended and then terminated him," the complaint states.

M.M. seeks punitive damages for sexual assault and battery, false imprisonment, negligence, civil rights violations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

She is represented by D. Stephen Melchior.

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