Saturday, December 02, 2017

Lawsuit response: Former Rangeline Sonic manager never showed alleged statutory sodomy victim any disrespect

In a lawsuit response filed this week in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, former Rangeline Sonic manager Chris Alred denied allegations made against him in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former teen carhop.

Among the allegations made against Alred is that he sexually assaulted the teen. He faces felony statutory sodomy charges in Jasper County Circuit Court.

But you couldn't tell that from reading the lawsuit response.

"Defendant Alred's conduct toward and treatment of plaintiff was legitimate, non-discriminatory and never retaliatory and Alred would have made the same employment decisions regardless of plaintiff's sex or alleged protected activity."

The response, written by Alred's attorney, Tara S. Eberline of the firm of Foulston Siekin LLP of Overland Park, Kansas, also indicates that Alred did not act with any malice toward the teen or show her any disrespect.

Alred denied all allegations in the lawsuit.

In the former carhop's petition and in a probable cause statement from the Joplin Police Department, Alred's behavior is described differently.

From the September 10 Turner Report:

Alred began working at Sonic in late 2015 and quickly became known for his "volatile temper" and began making sexual jokes about the teen. She reported his behavior to supervisor Frances Bentz who said the "jokes were inappropriate, but did nothing to stop the conduct," according to the petition.

About that same time, another manager pressured her into having sex and told her "if she reported his conduct to anyone he would make sure she got fired."

For a time, Alred was transferred to another Sonic, but he called the girl and asked her to come to his Joplin apartment where his wife was home at the time. During their conservation, Alred told the teen that "she was on her way to owning her own store" and that every partner chooses one good person to run a store and that she was that person, the lawsuit says.

During the conversation, the petition says, Alred, whose wife was asleep in another room at the time, began making inappropriate comments about another underage carhop who he found attractive.

The teen said she needed to leave. He took her to her vehicle, then go tin and told her to drive away from the apartments and park.

What happened next is described in the Joplin Police Department probable cause statement:

In the east parking lot of 1715 S. Rex Avenue, in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, Christopher E. Alred told (the victim) who was (16) at that time to perform oral sex on him. Christopher E. Alred walked her to her vehicle and sat in the passenger seat. (She) was in the driver's seat. (He) removed his penis from his pants and put his hand on the back of (her) head."

After that, he roughly used her until the act was completed.

The next day she told one of her managers, Portland Keough, what had happened, according to the petition. "So that's why you were being such a bitch," he responded. No action was taken, but he joked about how Alred was returning to the Rangeline Sonic and that wouid be "fun" for the girl.

The girl reported Alred, but he was allowed to return. The lawsuit says the other underage girl Alred said he was attracted told the plaintiff she began receiving text messages from Alred.

The lawsuit says Alred not only returned to Rangeline Sonic, but often supervised the shifts she was working.

Management not only did not deal with the Alred situation and the pervasive sexual harassment atmosphere, but threatened to fire the plaintiff, the lawsuit says.

The other underage girl told the plaintiff she had been raped by Alred. Again, Alred was reported with one manager saying the girl "tried to f--k a manager and then cried rape."

Distressed by everything that was happening, the plaintiff attempted suicide, according to the lawsuit.

She finally decided to report Alred to authorities after learning he had been given a Sonic in Springfield to run.

Eberlin is also representing Portland Keough, whose response was filed the same day. Keough also denied all allegations against him.

A separate response was also filed by lawyers representing D. R. Rogers, Corp. which owns Rangeline Sonic, and the restaurant itself, also denying all allegations, but said the company and restaurant were not responsible for any "alleged actions of Alred and Keough" and that those actions "were outside the scope of employment."

The company's lawyer, Gregg D. Ballew of the Kansas City firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP, filed a motion to dismiss Sonic managers Frances Bentz and Chris Cote as defendants.

Attorneys for the company and the plaintiff were unsuccessful in October mediation hearings.

Alred's trial on the statutory sodomy charge is scheduled for April 2. He was also arrested by a Sarcoxie police officer August 28 for driving while intoxicated. He has been convicted five previous times on that charge.

(Note: The Joplin Police Department has also issued a warrant for Alred's arrest for a September 11 assault on me at my apartment. He has yet to be arrested on that charge.)

Judge Dean Dankelson rejected a motion from the Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney's office to have Alred's bond revoked.

The decision was made October 16, after the DWI arrest (which occurred with a child in the vehicle) and the alleged assault at my apartment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only in Joplin.