WHEELING -- An employee is suing the Ohio County Board of Education and a co-worker who harassed him.
Christopher Means began working in the maintenance department for Ohio County schools in 1997 and worked alongside Gerald Ames, according to a complaint filed Oct. 13 in Ohio Circuit Court.
Means claims that during his first week at work, Ames groped him from behind while walking up a flight of stairs and despite requests to stop, Ames continued.
Means tried to handle the situation on his own, but the harassment continued and progressively worsened over time, according to the suit.
Ames developed a special relationship with the administrative officials in Ohio County schools and because of this, Means claims he feared losing his job if he complained about the harassment.
According to the suit, Ames flaunted this special relationship on numerous occasions.
Means claims Ames regularly shows graphic pornographic images from his cell phone to co-workers and that he was not the only victim of Ames' harassment.
After several more incidents in January and February 2009, Means filed a formal complaint on Feb. 17, which resulted in an investigation.
According to the suit, following the investigation Ames told several co-workers confidential details about the investigation, and the co-workers then approached Means about the investigation. Means claims this made him uncomfortable.
Means is suing for compensatory and punitive damages for severe emotional and mental distress, humiliation, anxiety, embarrassment, depression, aggravation, annoyance and inconvenience. Harry F. Bell Jr. and Roger L. Lambert from the Bell Law Firm are representing him.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Martin J. Gaughan.
Ohio Circuit Court case number: 09-C-343