by: Tom Regan Updated:
ATLANTA - A former MARTA dispatcher said a co-worker exposed himself to her and admitted it, but the company looked the other way.
"I was afraid I was going to get raped,” Ashley Clark told Channel 2’s Tom Regan.
She filed a federal complaint and is preparing a lawsuit against the transit agency. The other employee, a maintenance worker, is still on the job.
Clark said she was alone in her office when the man walked in, exposed himself and committed a lewd act.
"I said, ‘I don't know what you're doing and why, but it needs to stop.’ His response was, 'But it feels so good,'” Clark said. “I tried to remove myself from the situation as quickly as I could."
She filed a police complaint and reported the 2010 incident to management, asking that the man be fired. Atlanta attorney Lisa Millican gave Regan a letter MARTA sent to the accused employee following an internal investigation.
"You displayed inappropriate behavior toward Ms. Clark," the letter said.
But it went on to say, “You are a valued employee and this office wishes you continued success in your career with MARTA.”
It recommended discipline in accordance with MARTA policies and regulations. Clark said the company didn’t follow through.
“He admitted it in a mediation session in front of MARTA police. He was supposed to be transferred to another facility. None of that happened," she said.
Instead, Clark said, her supervisors retaliated against her when she made the complaint.
“It became a ‘What did I do to bring this on myself? Did it have something to do with the way I was dressed?’ It became a vicious cycle of lies and rumors, which made it impossible to work. It was horrible," said Clark.
So, she quit.
Millican, who is filing a discrimination and harassment suit against MARTA, said the agency failed to protect its employee.
"They have an anti-discrimination policy and an anti-harassment policy, which they don't enforce. They have a tolerance for sexual harassment. They have a tolerance for retaliation. It shows a victim is not protected," she said.
A MARTA spokesman admitted to Regan that the worker accused in the incident remains on the job. The agency said it could not comment on pending litigation or an ongoing investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.