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Worker Says Boss Molested Her With Plunger

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (CN) - A City of Huntsville shift supervisor sexually abused an employee for three years, culminating in a sexual assault with a toilet plunger handle, the woman claims in court.

Sherry Godsey sued Huntsville and custodial shift supervisor Robert Burks in Federal Court, alleging sexual harassment, outrage, retaliation, negligent or wanton hiring, invasion of privacy, civil rights violations and assault and battery.

"The abuse began almost immediately after Godsey starting working for the City of Huntsville in June 2009 [and lasted] until July 2012," Godsey's attorney Kerri Johnson Riley told Courthouse News.

According to the lawsuit, Burks subjected Godsey to unwelcome "kissing, hugging, fondling plaintiff's breasts and removing her clothing, having sexual intercourse in various positions demanded by Burks, having oral sexual relations when demanded by Burks, and a sexual assault with the handle of a toilet plunger."

Godsey's "submission to Burks was a condition of her employment," and he threatened her with violence if she did not submit to his sexual demands, according to the complaint.

Many of the sexual assaults took place in the buildings Godsey was assigned to clean, including the James Williams Aquatic Center, Natatorium, Public Works, and Fleet Management, according to the complaint.

After Burks violated her with the toilet plunger handle in June 2012, Godsey told her husband what she had been enduring to keep her job, and with his support, she was able to submit a complaint against Burks to the city's department Human Resources, the complaint states.

Hunstville investigated Burks, but merely limited his supervisory authority over Godsey, according to the complaint.

Godsey claims that to distance herself from Birks, she requested the weekend shift, which pays less, and says she still has to see him in the office when she clocks in.

She compensatory and punitive damages.

Huntsville is the fourth largest city in Alabama.

Peter Joffrion, city attorney for Hunstville, did not return a request for comment.

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