The long-and-short of it is that in 2016 a male swim coach at the center took a liking to female lifeguard, asked her out, but was then refused.
Instead of shrugging it off like most of us would do, the man actually began to text sexual photos and videos of himself to the woman, and even masturbated in front of her.
The woman did what most women in inferior positions in the workplace do - she tried to ignore it.
But the last straw for her was when the man walked in when she was showering and propositioned her...all while wearing no pants.
She went to the aquatic center’s manager at that point and the center called her claims fake news. She was then fired, with the reason being that she missed two days of work...two days she told the center about as she was completing a certification course.
It didn’t help that she was also gay and also an Indian.
The center’s management kicked her to the curb, hoping that would be the end of it.
Boy were they wrong!
Yesterday Montana Public Radio reported that the aquatics center has to pay that woman $60,000 in damages.
The $7.4 million non-profit center opened in 2013 and still has $800,000 in loans it has to repay, so this judgement could hurt them.
It took over a year for this story to come out in the media before that happened. Additionally, the poor woman in this case had to wait three years between filing her claim and seeing justice.
I think she had to wait too long.
I also think it’s a shame that we still live in a society where the first reaction to such a story from management is to cover it up.
I’m also alarmed that a man that had been accused of raping a 14-year-old girl back in 2011 was allowed to work as a swim coach.
Was he working with kids? Seems likely.
Kris Sampson is the current executive director of the aquatics center, and she’s also a teacher at Polson High School. She took over at the center in November and now it’s her job to clean up this mess.
I wonder how she feels about this center she now oversees, but of course she couldn’t tell us as this case goes to appeal.
The smart move would be for her to quit.
It’s sad that there’s this mindset of protecting abusers up in Polson, but we have the same mindset in the Governor’s Office.
Steve Bullock made a choice to not tell New York’s mayor that his recent new hire was a serial sexual harasser.
I wonder if this is a generational kind of thing, where older men view treating women like objects as perfectly acceptable.
I don’t know a lot of millenials that think that way.
Hopefully one day we won’t need to read stories like this anymore.