PENDLETON, Ore. (CN) – A woman claims in Federal Court that former Umatilla County District Attorney Dean Gushwa sexually forced himself on her while she worked for him and told her she would lose her job if she reported it.
Jane Doe sued Gushwa and former Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who appointed Gushwa, claiming she had to quit her job because Gushwa’s predations.
Umatilla County is in northeastern Oregon. Its county seat is Pendleton.
Doe says she started working for the District Attorney’s Office in August 2008, and a year later “Gushwa began to make sexual comments toward plaintiff during work hours. Defendant Gushwa told plaintiff not to tell anyone, otherwise she would lost her job,” according to the complaint.
Doe says that her supervisor told her that Gushwa “was talking about a ‘hot 20 year old in his office,’ which plaintiff’s supervisor understood to be a reference to plaintiff.”
Then, Doe says, things got worse.
“In March of 2009, while traveling to Hermiston, defendant Gushwa pulled over to the side of the road. Defendant Gushwa took plaintiff’s hand and placed it on his penis,” the complaint states. “Plaintiff pulled her hand away. Defendant Gushwa then put his hand down plaintiff’s pants. Plaintiff pulled defendant’s hand out of her pants and told him to drive because they were going to be late for their conference. Plaintiff did not tell anyone else about this incident at the time because she feared she would lose her job if she did.”
Also that month, Doe says, when she had to return to the office at about 6 p.m. because she had forgotten her cell phone, “Defendant blocked plaintiff’s way to her desk and started kissing her. Plaintiff was finally able to break away, grab her phone, and leave the building. Plaintiff did not tell anyone about this incident at the time because she feared she would lose her job if she did.”
Doe says Gushwa was unrelenting.
“Even after plaintiff informed defendant Gushwa that she and her husband were reconciling and were expecting another child, defendant Gushwa continued to comment on her physical attractiveness as a pregnant woman and her cleavage,” the complaint states. (25)
“Throughout her employment, Defendant Gushwa told her on multiple occasions that she should not tell anyone about his conduct toward her or else she would lose her job.
“It was only after defendant Gushwa’s sexual assault of another employee was reported to the authorities in August of 2009 that plaintiff felt safe enough to disclose his conduct toward her.
“After plaintiff reported defendant Gushwa’s conduct toward her to the authorities, defendant Gushwa stared at her in a knowing and threatening manner at work. Plaintiff was also subjected to negative treatment by her coworkers and supervisors.
“As a result of the hostile work environment, plaintiff was unable to return to work following the birth of her baby, and her employment was terminated by defendant County on March 31, 2011.”
Gushwa, who resigned in 2010, was suedin September 2011 by a secretary who claimed that he sexually assaulted her.
In the present case, Doe seek damages from Gushwa, former Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Umatilla County, for sex discrimination and retaliation claims.
She is represented by Thomas Doyle, with Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan, of Portland.