WHEELING – A dermatologist has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting a former employee.
Jerry Hahn and Ganzer-Hahn Dermatology Associates were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed March 11 in Ohio Circuit Court by Ashley George.
“Hahn initially offered to pay plaintiff’s tuition to become a nurse practitioner,” the introduction to the complaint states. “When plaintiff accepted, Dr. Hahn then demanded she repay him by requiring her to perform sexual acts with him, others, and in front of video cameras. Hahn paid Plaintiff cash in order to circumvent the tax laws, and provided prescriptions to control plaintiff and to prevent her from stopping the harassment.”
George, who is 26, was hired as a registered medical assistant by the defendant company. Hahn, who is 65, is a dermatological surgeon who practices at multiple locations across the state. George sometimes traveled to various clinics with Hahn to see patients, according to the complaint, including The Highlands in Triadelphia.
At some point during George’s employment, Hahn told her he’d like for her to assist him in surgery. He provided her with his personal cell phone number to talk about the opportunity.
“After plaintiff contacted Dr. Hahn to say that she was interested in the opportunity, he had her personal cell phone number,” the complaint states. “On multiple occasions, Dr. Hahn stated to plaintiff that she is ‘very pretty’ and has a ‘great body.’”
Soon, George met Hahn for dinner to discuss the opportunity.
“At the dinner, Dr. Hahn stated that he had a confidential offer to make plaintiff,” the complaint states. “The offer was that Dr. Hahn would agree to pay for her further education to become a nurse practitioner.
“As encouragement, Dr. Hahn told Ms. George that he had ‘mentored’ others in the same way in the past. This offer was the beginning of Dr. Hahn’s plan to groom and set up the plaintiff to abuse her sexually.”
George accepted Hahn’s plan to help her further her education.
“Dr. Hahn told plaintiff in order to be more focused on her education she would be required to move out of her parent’s home and into an apartment that he would pay for,” the complaint states. “Again, not realizing this was another step toward being sexually abused by Dr. Hahn, plaintiff signed a lease at the Highland Park Luxury Apartments and Townhomes in her own name.”
The complaint says Hahn paid George cash for the monthly lease payments and gave her cash for living expenses “to circumvent tax laws.”
“A few weeks after plaintiff moved into the apartment, Dr. Hahn showed up to her apartment and stated, ‘I am not paying all of this cash for nothing,’” the complaint states. “Dr. Hahn began kissing plaintiff. Dr. Hahn compelled plaintiff to have sexual intercourse with Dr. Hahn.”
The complaint says Hahn began demanding sex about once a week for the few months.
“Dr. Hahn required plaintiff to find friends to join in the sexual intercourse sessions,” the complaint states. “Dr. Hahn would routinely videotape the sexual intercourse sessions.”
George says Hahn’s actions caused her to become distraught and depressed to the point that she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
“Knowing plaintiff’s mental state, Dr. Hahn kept prescription medication from other patients with him,” the complaint states. “Dr, Hahn would give plaintiff pills prescribed to others to take without ever examining plaintiff to determine whether or not those prescription medications were necessary and/or appropriate for plaintiff.”
Geroge says Hahn began writing her prescriptions for “high doses of Prozac” and gave her cash to buy the medicine. The complaint also says Hahn demanded she drink wine coolers when she was taking the Prozac.
He told her he gave her cash to “avoid potential trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. The complaint lists five liens filed by the IRS against Hahn in 2017 and 2018 totaling nearly $1 million.
George says the situation caused her to have thoughts of suicide.
Last fall, the complaint states, Hahn went to George’s apartment for sexual intercourse. But George says she refused the cash and told Hahn to leave. She moved out of the apartment and back to her parents’ home. She later was sued by the owners of the apartment for breach of contract.
George says she also told the office manager of the defendant company about Hahn’s conduct. She was assured the information would remain confidential, but the office manager allegedly told others what had occurred.
“Ms. George’s supervisor knew of the tortious acts of Dr. Hahn but failed to intervene and thus permitted such acts to continue to the detriment of Ms. George,” the complaint states.
She claims Hahn created a hostile work environment by committing sexual harassment through sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature.
“Dr. Hahn’s conduct toward George as stated herein had the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with Ms. George’s work performance or created an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment,” the complaint states. “Dr. Hahn, as an employer or agent of the employer, demanded sexual consideration from Ms. George in exchange for job benefits, so-called ‘quid pro quo’ harassment. The sexual harassment was severe or pervasive.”
George says she has suffered emotional distress, extreme fear, torment and suffering of her body and mind, embarrassment, humiliation, annoyance, aggravation and inconvenience. She seeks compensatory – including front, back pay and benefits – and punitive damages as well as attorney fees, court costs and other relief.
She is represented by Paul Harris of Harris Law Offices in Wheeling as well as Teresa Toriseva and Joshua Miller of Toriseva Law in Wheeling.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jason Cuomo.
Ohio Circuit Court case number 19-C-64