Sep 3, 2010

A former Dayton SCLC employee who has claimed the Rev. Raleigh Trammell repeatedly sexually harassed her has filed a lawsuit, detailing numerous allegations against Trammell, including that he videotaped sexual encounters with several female employees.

DaMisha Douglas filed the lawsuit on Tuesday, Aug. 31, in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Those named as defendants include the SCLC’s offices in Dayton and Atlanta, the Ohio Baptists General Convention offices in Dayton and Columbus and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance offices in Columbus and Dayton. It asks for damages in excess of $1 million for sexual harassment, retaliation, assault, battery, emotional distress, libel, slander, wrongful termination and other charges.

Trammell’s attorney, Mia Wortham Spells, declined to comment. So did the Rev. Sylvester Walker of St. Luke Baptist Church in Dayton, who is executive secretary of the Ohio Baptist General Convention. Trammell did not return messages left at his office and at home.

In June, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that the SCLC allowed discrimination against Douglas, who filed her complaint with the OCRC in November, claiming Trammell “made numerous unwanted sexual advances toward her and subjected her to unwelcome sexual contact,” the commission said.

The lawsuit complaint goes into significantly more detail, describing alleged events that started when Douglas, now 34, was 13. At that time, Douglas’ mother had been assigned to perform community service at the Dayton SCLC after her release from prison. Douglas said she walked in on Trammell and her mother having sex at the office, but her mother, who was married, asked her not to tell anyone.

Her mother sent her to live with Trammell when she was 14 “so she could attend summer school,” and she told Trammell that she had been sexually abused by two family members. Later, when Douglas worked for the SCLC, Trammell would tell her he wished he was one of those family members and said he would have had sex with her, too, according to the lawsuit.

She started working for the Dayton IMA and SCLC when she was 16. Her mother approached her and told her the family had money problems, but that Trammell would give them money if she agreed to have sex with him. She reluctantly agreed, and had sex with Trammell, according to the suit.

During her employment with the IMA and SCLC, Douglas claimed in the lawsuit that she was repeatedly harassed and propositioned by Trammell. One female co-worker told Douglas that Trammell wanted to watch them have sex. While Douglas declined at first, she agreed on a limited basis when offered $1,000, according to the suit, and taped encounters between him and the other woman

Douglas also found videotapes of Trammell engaged in sexual activity with employees or former employees of the organization, including one involving a mother and daughter, according to the suit.

During the spring and summer of 2009, Douglas complained of Trammell’s behavior to SCLC’s general counsel, Dexter Wimbish, and to Wilbert Shanklin, the group’s compliance officer. But, according to the lawsuit, the harassment continued. During one incident , Trammell came into Douglas’ office and complained about her failing to give him attention . He touched her and exposed himself, but she pushed him away.



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