ERIE - Months after one of the defendants was sentenced to 10-20 years in prison, a young female has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against her former employer.
Isabella Greenawalt filed a lawsuit June 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Reigleman Enterprises Inc., doing business as Pymatuning Deer Park; Bruce Sankey, president of REI; and Rachelle Sankey, vice president, secretary and treasurer of REI; citing sexual harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
According to the complaint, Greenawalt began working for the defendants as a concession stand cashier in the spring of 2011. She was 14 years old at the time. Greenawalt alleges that she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. The suit states that Bruce Sankey, who was 41 at the time, made daily comments and overtures of sexual nature; made unwanted physical contact with her; requested sexual relations with her; and forced her to engage in sexual acts with him.
Greenawalt was warned repeatedly to keep the sexual relationship a secret, which she did as she feared that reporting his inappropriate conduct would make her lose her job and the only people that she could report to was Bruce himself or his wife Rachelle.
Rachelle Sankey did eventually witness her husband's sexual harassment and abuse of Greenawalt but didn't take any remedial action, the suit claims. Instead, as the suit states, Rachelle told her not to report her husband's actions because it would harm the business and their family. Both of the Sankeys also pressured Greenawalt to remain employed as her decision to leave would lead to questions, the plaintiff claims.
Greenawalt eventually reported the sexual harassment and abuse to local authorities in January 2014. Bruce Sankey was charged with more than 30 felony charges, and Rachelle was charged with witness intimidation and obstruction of justice.
The plaintiff seeks damages; attorney fees and costs; and other relief deemed acceptable by the Court.
She is represented by Richard Lanzillo and Bryan Baumann of Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C. in Erie.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-00804-MRH.