Council on Aging sued again: Man seeking $100K in sexual harassment suit

By John O'Brien | Apr 26, 2006

CHARLESTON - A man claiming he was threatened to be fired if he ended a relationship with his boss is suing the Council on Aging.

Cornellisus D. Christian filed the lawsuit April 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court. He is representing himself and seeking $100,000 in damages.

He alleges that he was involved in a sexual relationship with his boss at the Council on Aging, Patricia Coss, but wanted to end things in March.

When he tried to, he says Coss threatened to have him fired. On April 5, he says he went to her boss, John Charpel, and informed him of the situation.

Both Charpel and Coss are also named as defendants in the suit.

Coss was called into Charpel's office, Christian writes, and denied everything.

"So I pulled out my cell phone and shone John nude pictures of Patricia that she let me take of her during our sexual relationship," the complaint says.

"John became angry and yelled at me and told me I was fired."

Christian claims Mike Adams, a security guard, escorted him out of the building. He requested in his complaint that Adams be called as a witness.

Christian feels he is owed $100,000 for wrongful termination of employment, sexual harassment and punitive damages. Judge Paul Zakaib has been assigned the case.

This is the second lawsuit involving the Council on Aging filed in the last month.

Bob Graham, the embattled director of the Council on Aging, was listed as a defendant in a lawsuit filed March 31 in Putnam Circuit Court by Pamela B. Miller. Also listed as defendants were the Council on Aging, All Care Home and Community Services and The Peoples Bank of Mullens.

Miller claims Graham, as executive director of the Council on Aging, didn't allowing her to take part in a retirement plan he administered.(Putnam Circuit Court case number: 06-C-105)

Graham's pay and benefits, which amounted to more than $450,000 in 2004, came to the attention of state and federal investigators almost two years ago. Graham has been sued by the state and indicted by federal prosecutors on 21 counts of embezzlement and tax fraud.

Graham is scheduled to appear soon in federal court in Beckley. If convicted of the charges against him, he could be forced to return more than $400,000 and he faces fines of more than $5 million and up to 112 years in prison.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-712

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