WARREN, Ohio (CN) – An Ohio woman claims her former employer hired as its office manager a twice-convicted child molester who sexually assaulted her son during a Thanksgiving party and attacked her at home after she reported him to police.
Parents Kristina Carson and Dion Matthews filed a lawsuit in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas last week against Carson’s former co-worker Michael Peach and the medical billing company where they worked, Sunridge Solutions, alleging negligent hiring, loss of consortium and civil battery.
The Nov. 21 complaint comes more than a year after a judge sentenced Peach to 48 years in prison for 18 criminal charges including gross sexual imposition, kidnapping and felonious assault for molesting Carson and Matthews’ then-9-year-old son before terrorizing Carson in December 2016 for reporting him to authorities.
Carson and Matthews claim Sunridge enabled Peach – who had been convicted of sex crimes in 1996 and 1997 for molesting a male victim under the age of 13 – by making the office “kid friendly” and encouraging employees to bring in their children to work.
“Michael Peach’s office was known at Sunridge Solutions as ‘the man cave’ – where children of the employees, especially the young boys, would be invited to come hang out while their parents worked,” according to the complaint filed by attorney Nicholas Dicello of Cleveland-based firm Spangenberg Shibley & Liber.
This is how the plaintiffs say Peach befriended their son and molested him twice, once during a Thanksgiving office party.
Carson says her son, identified in court records as D.M., told her about the incidents and she reported them to police and to Sunridge’s vice president, who is also Peach’s aunt.
The company did not fire Peach and instead “helped him deny the allegations,” the complaint states.
The situation took a turn for the worse when Peach found out about the police report, Carson claims.
“At around 8 a.m. on December 19, 2016, Kristina Carson started her car so it could heat up. She looked out her kitchen window to see if the snow had melted, and found herself staring at a man wearing a mask. It was Michael Peach,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit continues, “Kristina Carson managed to get off a frantic call to D.M’s father, plaintiff Dion Matthews, who lived down the street. Seconds later, Michael Peach dove through the window head first and attacked Kristina Peach and her minor sons.”
Matthews arrived and fought Peach while Carson and her sons escaped to a neighbor’s house and called police, according to the complaint.
Peach led police on a high-speed chase before crashing into a tree and running away on foot. He was later found in a ditch with self-inflicted stab wounds in his neck and chest, but survived and was later convicted of the felony charges.
At a June 2017 sentencing hearing, a Trumbull County judge reportedly called Peach “a textbook pedophile predator in every way.”
Carson and Matthews want at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for Sunridge’s alleged failure to warn employees that Peach was a convicted child molester and encouraging them to bring their children around him.
They also want the same amount in damages from Peach for the masked assault of Carson, Matthews and D.M.
Neither Sunridge nor the plaintiffs’ attorney, Dicello, immediately responded Monday to email requests for comment.