Gardner’s donation of $5,000 to MOCSA last May was part of a sexual harassment settlement between the city and a minor who had filed a lawsuit in federal district court. The city was also ordered to make payments for $75,000 for the victim’s personal physical injuries.
The $5,000 donation was made May 15 and authorized by Jim Pruetting, city administrator, according to Sharon Rose, city clerk.
Under a KORA request, Rose also provided documents which indicated that of the $75,000, $10,000 would be paid to the victim, $35,813.39 plaintiff’s attorneys fees and expenses, and $29,186.61 to set up an annuity for the plaintiff. Rose said those payments will be made by Gardner’s insurance.
In addition, Gardner will pay costs for the mediator for the mediation conducted Feb. 6, 2020.
According to court documents, the city was represented by Ryan B. Denk, the city’s attorney. The plaintiff was represented by Anne Schiavone and Kathleen Mannion with Holman Schiavone, LLC.
The lawsuit alleged that in the summer of 2018, the plaintiff, then  16, was harassed by a supervisor, and that in June 2018, she was raped by the supervisor while working as a seasonal employee for the City of Gardner. Court documents assert that the plaintiff has experienced severe emotional distress.
Court documents stated that the need for anonymity outweighed public interest in open court records, and the victim was referred to only by initials.
The lawsuit alleged sex discrimination, Fourteenth Amendment violations, and denial of due process by failing to respond to or prevent discrimination and harassment.
The minor was an employee with the city’s park department.
According to the suit, about July 15, 2018 the plaintiff reported sexual assaults and harassment to the Gardner Police Department.
The GPD detective then relayed allegations of sexual harassment and assault to the city, and the girl was placed on administrative leave.
The girl, and father, requested information regarding disciplinary action taken against her supervisor, but the city refused to provide information, the suit alleges.
A letter from the EEOC regarding the plaintiff’s complaint granted the minor the right to file a civil suit.
According to the suit, the plaintiff believed that Gardner officials had previous knowledge that the supervisor had sexually assaulted and/or harassed other girls, before the rape occurred.
The suit also alleged the supervisor and another city supervisor would regularly engage in inappropriate discussions of a sexual nature.
Plaintiff’s suit says the minor was “sexually harassed and assaulted, at least in part, because the City of Gardner, Kansas, failed to take appropriate actions and failed to abide by appropriate policies, to ensure that (plaintiff) and others were safe from sexual abuse and sexual harassment.”
According to the suit, on at least four separate occasions in May and June 2018, the minor was sexually assaulted at isolated city-owned locations. The girl reported she was raped on top of her car June 28, 2018.
The plaintiff also alleges other female employees were harassed by the same supervisor, and that the city had knowledge of his behavior before the June assault.