Ramsey County, Plymouth school face discipline in sex harassment cases

The two cases involve Ramsey County and West Lutheran High School in Plymouth.
Author:
Publish date:

Ramsey County and a high school in Plymouth are under the microscope for their handling of two separate cases of sexual assault and harassment.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights announced on Thursday it has taken legal action against the county and West Lutheran High School in Plymouth.

The Ramsey County case concerns a 16-year-old female lifeguard who in 2013 was sexually assaulted by her male supervisor when the beaches they were monitoring were closed.

The supervisor then used a county vehicle to purchase emergency contraceptives.

According to settlement documents, the lifeguard reported the incident to the parks services coordinator, who did nothing besides tell the lifeguard to talk to a relative who also knew her supervisor.

The following summer, the lifeguard was rehired by the county. She told other employees she was uncomfortable around the male supervisor. After making comments about the sexual assault, one senior lifeguard initiated an investigation into the incidents, according to the documents. That summer, a criminal complaint was issued against the supervisor.

According to the MDHR, Ramsey County’s actions in this case violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The settlement agrees that the county will update its sexual harassment policies and provide sexual assault training to all lifeguards.

“As a survivor of sexual assault by a co-worker, I know all too well how devastating it is to know that your superiors will not take your assault seriously,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Trista Matas Castillo in a statement.

"The initial response to this incident was unacceptable, but it highlights systemic problems throughout our society. Ramsey County is committed to doing better and has implemented policy changes to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again."

Plymouth school failed to prevent harassment

The second case involves a lawsuit filed Thursday by the MDHR against West Lutheran High School in Plymouth.

The lawsuit alleges the school did not take proper steps to investigate repeated instances of sexual harassment of a female student by her male peers.

Reported instances included gossiping, sexual harassment and sexual assault. These instances were reported to the school’s principal, but an investigation was never brought forward.

At the same time, the female student was threatened with expulsion if she initiated an investigation and the principal found the claims to be false, according to the lawsuit.

Because conciliation was not reached, the MDHR is pursuing litigation, according to the press release. MDHR is represented by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. 

Next Up

CHS Field

Start of St. Paul Saints season delayed to May

Major League Baseball says it's being 'prudent' in delaying the minor league season.

caribou beyond meat sandwich

Caribou Coffee is the latest to add plant-based meat to its menu

The plant-based protein market is exploding, expected to reach $74.2 billion in the next six years.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Former MN bank CEO sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsifying records

Robert Hager was the CEO of Border State Bank in Northern Minnesota.

49920879552_ef6458affd_o2

As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.

mark kosloski - chisago county jail

Former volleyball coach charged with sexually assaulting a player

Mark Kosloski was a coach at North Lakes Academy for six years, resigning in February for personal reasons.

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 8.49.07 AM

Men fatally shot by police in Wadena County were brothers

The BCA also released the names of the two officers who discharged their firearms.

Christian Brown (left) and Byron Jackson (right)

Charges: Hutchinson man shot man in the head while trying to buy cocaine

The other suspect is accused of punching a man to the ground, breaking his arm and dislocating his shoulder.

ambulance

Teenage driver hits woman walking with kids in Woodbury

The woman and one child were taken to the hospital, the other child wasn't hurt.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 7.44.12 AM

Court orders school to take action on sex harassment, bullying by students

The high school in Plymouth was being sued for ignoring complaints of sexual harassment.

MN Supreme Court finds body cavity search unconstitutional in drug case

The case comes from an incident with the Minneapolis police in 2015.

Report: Air quality in Ramsey County worst in the state

The American Lung Association released its "State of the Air" report Wednesday and has given Ramsey County an "F" for "short-term particle pollution." That's down from a "B'' in 2009, a "C" in 2010 and a "D'' in 2011. Overall, Minnesota earned better grades for "high ozone days," but lower grades for "high particle pollution days."

What's in Ramsey County's wind?

Twin Cities Daily Planet examines why Ramsey County last month received an F grade for particulate matter pollution on the American Lung Association's 2012 State of the Air report. Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties all received a C grade.

kidnapping mugshots

2 suspects accused in Ramsey County kidnapping for ransom case

The sheriff's office says the victim was pistol-whipped.

Tax forms

Owners of Minneapolis adult daycare charged with tax evasion

Two owners falsified financial documents, federal authorities say.

MN Supreme Court hears arguments for St. Paul trash collection lawsuit

Residents have sued the city over a centralized trash collection system.

Stalker tracking system makes test run in Ramsey County

Ramsey County begins a pilot project Thursday that will track offenders and notify victims of stalking when a predator is nearby. The GPS tracking device called Stalker Alert requires offenders to where ankle bracelet and victims to carry a small receiver. If the alleged predator enters a five mile radius of the victim, an instant notification would be sent to police and victims by text or audible tone.