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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sexual Harassment Alleged at Swiss Turners Gymnastics

Over the past decade, Wisconsin’s Swiss Turners Gymnastics Academy had a pervasive sexually charged atmosphere where coaches and instructors engaged in sexual conduct with students, the students’ parents, and other staff members, according to a lawsuit recently filed in federal court in Milwaukee. The suit was filed by a former instructor at the gym that is best known as the training home of Olympians Paul and Morgan Hamm. At the center of the suit is the Hamm’s former coach, Stacy Maloney.

Maloney, who is identified on the Swiss Turner's website as a member of the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame and Swiss Turners' gym manager and director, is alleged to have made repeated sexual advances towards the gym’s Preschool Program Director. As described in the complaint, Maloney’s actions began soon after he learned that the plaintiff broke up with her boyfriend, leading to countless personal conversations and phone calls between Maloney and the plaintiff. Maloney, who identifies himself on his Facebook page as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for the band 2MorroW EvR AfteR, is alleged to have also recorded a song for the plaintiff. The plaintiff states she consistently rebuffed Maloney’s requests that he join her for drinks, but she eventually agreed to celebrate his birthday with him in June of 2009, mistakenly believing that others would be joining them at Hotel Metro in Milwaukee.

During that evening, the plaintiff contends that Maloney asked her numerous inappropriate intimate questions and requested the plaintiff not tell his wife they were out together. As the evening ended, Maloney insisted on walking the plaintiff to her car and once there, he put his arms around her and repeatedly tried to kiss her.

Following this incident, the plaintiff alleges that she was repeatedly passed over for promotions and was regularly confronted with comments from Maloney that she interpreted as suggesting that if she yielded to Maloney’s sexual advances, her employment situation would improve.

In January of 2011, the plaintiff asked to speak with Maloney about her employment and arrived for a scheduled appointment accompanied by her father. Instead of discussing her concerns, Maloney handed the plaintiff a letter terminating her employment and told her she was no longer welcome on the premises. The plaintiff states she was so shocked by being fired that she nearly fainted. 

The plaintiff is represented by Heins Law Office and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of wages and other employment benefits, and other damages.

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