FORT WAYNE – A local strip club owner is accused of sexually harassing one of his employees and could be on the hook for damages.
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission, which enforces the states civil rights laws, announced Thursday there is evidence showing the owner of Showgirl I inappropriately touched a woman who worked there last year.
According to a Civil Rights Commission document, the owner, James A. Butler, 51, is accused of grabbing the womans crotch one night last November before telling her he was going to take her home and (expletive) her.
Others at the strip club, on Goshen Road near Coliseum Boulevard and Interstate 69, told commission investigators that Butler created a sexually charged atmosphere between himself and his employees, the document said.
That same document cites witnesses who said Butler sexually harassed other female employees with inappropriate touching and comments the same day he allegedly grabbed the woman.
Butler could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Although no criminal charges have been filed against Butler, the woman left work early the night of the alleged harassment and went to Fort Wayne police to file a report against Butler.
About two weeks later the woman filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Commission.
Brad Meadows, a spokesman for the commission, said all complaints are investigated and presented to Joshua Brewster, the commissions deputy director.
Brewster then rules whether theres probable cause that someones civil rights were violated, as he did in the case involving Showgirl I.
Each year, the commission receives 500 to 600 formal complaints, Meadows said. The commission finds probable cause that violations occurred in 8 percent to 10 percent of those complaints.
Its rare because the burden of proof falls solely on the person filing the complaint, Meadows said. To get to this point, they usually have to have had some type of witness who can corroborate the story.
Both sides could now go into mediation and reach a settlement, Meadows said.
These settlements are usually for back pay and other damages. The settlements can be in the thousands of dollars but are typically less than $10,000, Meadows said.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case can go before a commission hearing and an administrative law judge, who can then rule on the matter, Meadows said.
Our goal is to not get to that point, Meadows said. The majority of these do not reach that point.