Woman says she was sexually abused, then assaulted

By Cara Bailey | Nov 18, 2008

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County woman has filed a suit against the owners of a local restaurant, claiming she was assaulted when she confronted them about sexual abuse to which she had been subjected.

Shelly Cummings filed the suit Sept. 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court, against Susan and Dennis Dodd, the owners of D's Tasty Freeze in Campbell's Creek.

Cummings was hired June 21, 2008, to work at a server at D's Tasty Freeze, the suit says. Soon after she started working Cummings claims she was subjected to unwanted sexual innuendo and touching.

According to the suit, Dennis Dodd made inappropriate comments, such as "why don't you show me what you can do with your tongue ring," and guessing the color of Cummings's undergarments.

Cummings claims Dodd also grabbed her breasts and asked her for sexual favors, the suit says.

According to the suit, Cummings, who was "shocked and disgusted" by Dodd's actions, resigned from D's Tasty Freeze.

Immediately after her resignation, Cummings claims Dodd followed her to her car and asked why she was leaving. Dodd's wife, Susan Dodd, also came to the parking lot, and asked why Cummings was quitting.

According to the suit, Cummings responded that she was resigning because Dennis Dodd was a pervert who repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and touched her inappropriately.

Susan Dodd then became angry and started hitting Cummings, the suit says. Cummings claims Dennis Dodd grabber her by her shoulders and held her against a truck while Susan Dodd hit her in the face, chest and stomach.

"(Cummings), who was badly scratched and bruised, managed to free herself from Dennis Dodd's grasp and fled from the parking lot," the suit says.

Cummings claims she ran to a near by gas station and asked for a ride to her husband's grandmother's house, located nearby, where she then had a friend take her to the hospital, the suit says.

Cummings claims she suffered emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience. She also claims she suffered from a hostile work environment.

In the six-count suit, Cummings seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as a court injunction ordering the Tasty Freeze to establish an on-going training program for its employees.

Attorney Matthew S. Criswell is representing Cummings. The case has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-1856

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