BECKLEY – A Bluefield woman is suing the Bluefield Daily Telegraph claiming she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker and then fired from her job.
Kora Blackwell filed the lawsuit in Raleigh Circuit Court naming Community Holdings of West Virginia (doing business as Bluefield Daily Telegraph), Daniel Strouth, Christina Meadows and Ernie Horn as defendants. The suit claims the defendants violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act for creating a hostile work environment.
Blackwell was employed by the Daily Telegraph for more than four years and never was disciplined or reprimanded, court filings said.
In her lawsuit, Blackwell claims Strouth was hired in 2016 and almost immediately began to follow her around and inappropriately touch her. He then began to send her inappropriate text messages, and she reported the issues to Horn, her supervisor, and Meadows, her manager.
Meadows told Blackwell not to worry about it and to ignore Strouth, but no investigation was conducted and no disciplinary actions were taken against Strouth for his actions, the suit said.
Blackwell claims on Dec. 10, 2016, she was scheduled to work the night shift with Strouth and that he continued his inappropriate actions with her and then sexually assaulted her and strangled her.
Blackwell claims she was able to say "no" to Strouth and kicked him off of her and then filed a police report with the Bluefield Police Department, who filed an emergency protective order for her.
Blackwell then began to have panic attacks because of the harassing behavior and assault, the suit said.
Blackwell claims she informed her supervisor that she could not work night shift alone and the supervisor moved her to the day shift for several weeks before moving her back to night shift.
Blackwell claims she made a second request to be moved to day shift, but, instead, her employment was terminated on Jan. 26, 2017, for "not fulfilling her job duties."
The defendants violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and caused Blackwell's physical and emotional distress, the suit said.
Blackwell, who is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, is represented by Stephen P. New and Amanda J. Taylor of The Law Office of Stephen P. New in Beckley.
Raleigh Circuit Court case number 19-C-29