A lawsuit alleges the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas knew that an employee was acting sexually inappropriate with young girls at its fitness center but did nothing to stop him before he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl.
The employee, Randy Adrian, allegedly targeted the anonymous plaintiff, Jane Doe, now 19, by making sexual comments, touching her inappropriately, stalking and harassing her, said the April 30 original petition in Jane Doe v. Jewish Community Center of Dallas.
He was allegedly “grooming” Doe by gaining her trust, isolating her, sexualizing their interactions and controlling her with threats or guilt, said the petition. The complaint alleged that eventually he molested and raped her at the fitness center and offsite over a period of months.
“What happened to this young woman is just deplorable. The fact she was not protected by those who should protect her is unacceptable, and I hope we can make a change through this lawsuit,” said Charla Aldous, partner in Aldous \ Walker in Dallas, who represents the plaintiff.
In response to a call to Artie Allen, the Jewish center’s chief executive officer, his administrative assistant emailed a statement that said the lawsuit seeks to impose liability on the Jewish center for the acts of a part-time employee who left his job in 2016.
“The JCC acted reasonably. We therefore intend to vigorously contest this matter in court,” said the center’s statement.
Doe’s abuse ended when someone learned of it and got police involved. In the end, Adrian, who eventually quit his employment at the center on his own, pleaded guilty and was convicted of three charges of indecency with a child and sentenced to prison time and registering as a sex offender, said the petition. The judgment in his criminal case said he received two years in the Texas Department of Corrections for the third-degree felony charge.
“The fitness center ignored the abuse it knew was happening and allowed it to continue,” alleged the complaint. “The fitness center showed a reckless disregard for the safety of its members, and created and allowed an environment that resulted in one of its adult, male employees being able to stalk, molest and eventually rape a young girl.”
The center runs a fitness center and markets itself to families and children, among others. Children 13 and younger get discounted memberships and can work out unsupervised while their parents go exercise. The center has a duty to keep them safe from sexual predation, especially from its own employees, the petition said.
Another gym employee repeatedly reported Adrian to leadership, but they took no action against him nor investigated the complaints, according to the complaint. Doe’s mother also raised concerns with center leadership, and one director’s “only response was to blame Jane Doe for distracting Adrian by trying to ‘hang out’ with him,” the petition said, adding that the center’s executive director, Allen, told the mother, “It takes two to tango.”
“Jane Doe will struggle every day the rest of her life with what happened to her. It is well-established that victims of sexual assault such as Jane Doe have long term difficulties maintaining healthy intimate relationships, problems with trust, problems with security, major depression, anxiety, increased risk for psychological conditions such as eating disorders, and medical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder,” said the petition.
Doe is suing the Jewish Community Center for negligence and negligent undertaking. She alleges the center is responsible for its employees’ and agents’ conduct. She seeks to recover damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, medical expenses, exemplary damages, pre- and post-judgment interest and court costs.
Fort Worth solo practitioner Jeffrey Boncek, who represented Adrian in his criminal case, didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment.
Read the petition here.