Skip to main content
Publish date:

Ramsey County, Plymouth school face discipline in sex harassment cases

The two cases involve Ramsey County and West Lutheran High School in Plymouth.

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

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Anthony Edwards

Ant's massive slam leads Timberwolves to fifth straight win

The dunk didn't count, but provided the highlight of the night.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

WIld arrive late, Cam Talbot stays on point to beat Devils

Despite a 30-minute delay, the Wild picked up a 3-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.


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.

Bob Fletcher

Ramsey County sheriff, county manager quarrel over civil unrest funding

Sheriff Bob Fletcher has been in a dispute with the county manager over the reimbursement.

covid-19, coronavirus

First case of coronavirus confirmed in Minnesota

The patient is elderly and lives in Ramsey County.