In legal documents obtained by Florida News Center, former WJHG morning/noon meteorologist Stacey Sawyer (Craven) alleges that WJHG/Gray Television subjected her to “unlawful sexual harassment, retaliated against her, and discriminated against her based on her pregnancy,” in a lawsuit submitted to United States District Court.
The lawsuit alleges that former WJHG chief meteorologist Jason Kelley subjected Sawyer to sexual harassment, including sexual comments on her appearance, the request of sexual favors, inappropriate touching and the sending of a full-frontal nude photograph of himself to Sawyer. The lawsuit also alleges that then, News Director/Anchor Tom Lewis, suggested that she “show more cleavage” and ignored Sawyer’s complaints about Kelley’s actions. General manager Kurt Molander also allegedly ignored Sawyer’s complaints about Kelley’s actions.
The allegations against Kelley are the most shocking. Sawyer alleges that Kelley said “he enjoyed performing oral sex on women”, asked Sawyer if she “enjoyed receiving oral sex”, and whether her husband performed oral sex on her. According to Sawyer, Kelley was aware that Sawyer’s husband was frequently out of town and indicated that he and Sawyer could meet after their newscasts for sex. Sawyer also alleges that Kelley grabbed her buttocks shortly before she went on the air in 2008. The suit alleges that after Kelley took up a job at WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, he was “believed to be having similar harassment issues.”
The legal documentation points out that Sawyer complied with Gray’s sexual harassment policy, in that she reported the behavior to Station Management (including News Director Tom Lewis, GM Kurt Molander and WCTV-TV GM Nick Waller) on at least seven separate occasions, following the first incident in July 2008.
Sawyer alleges that she was terminated at WJHG due to the complaints about her sexual harassment and her pregnancy.
According to documents filed to the Florida Unemployment Appeals Commission, Sawyer resigned from WJHG two weeks before her contract was up, allegedly due to the stress the alleged sexual harassment was causing her. WJHG made an unconditional offer to have Sawyer (Craven) return to employment as a meteorologist but did not accept the offer, fearing that returning would cause stress which would complicate her pregnancy.
FNC made attempts to contact WJHG and others named in the law suit. We received no response. Stay tuned for further developments.
Sources: Case 5:11-cv-00029-RS (US District Court…Panama City) —– Case No. 1D10-3838 (FL Dist. 1 Ct)