Woman sues school district, LINC for sexual harassment - KCTV5

Woman suing Kansas City School District, LINC on sexual harassment claims

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A woman is suing the Kansas City School District and the group that operates after-school programs for the district. She said what happened to her should not happen to any woman.

Dr. Rubie Ellis, a community advocate, wanted to help students in an after-school program provided by LINC, the Local Investment Commission. A LINC supervisor, Steven Bradford, whom she had not met, invited her to tour the school at Martin Luther King Elementary School.

"He asked if I wanted to take a position with the program because he had heard what I do in the community," Ellis, the plaintiff, said.

But Ellis never had the chance to work with students. Instead, she said, in 2011 during the two weeks she was there for an assessment, she was sexually harassed and assaulted by Bradford.

Ellis said Bradford made sexual advances toward her and, when she refused, he attacked her.

"When I turned, I was hit from the back like a football player would hit a quarterback, had my head slammed into a metal door frame, my nails were caught in the handle and ripped off," Ellis said.

She did not report it to police, but following a friend's advice she said she tried to report the incident to the school principal the next day, but the principal, Philomina Harshaw, was unavailable.

In a report filed in November, Harshaw stated that Ellis was a volunteer, not an employee.

Ellis decided to file a civil lawsuit against the Kansas City, MO, School District, and the organization LINC, Bradford and Harshaw, claiming they did not provide a safe place for her to work and did nothing about her allegations of harassment and assault.

"He hit me, nobody has the right to put their hands on me," she said.

Neither the school district nor LINC would talk with KCTV5 on camera, but both provided written statements denying the allegations.

"The Kansas City Public Schools was recently notified of this litigation. While KCPS denies the allegations, it does continue to investigate those allegations. It should also be noted that KCPS has no records supporting the plaintiff's assertion that she was an employee of KCPS. The school system also denies that the individual defendant was employed by KCPS during the period of the alleged incident. KCPS awaits the opportunity to present the facts of this case in a court of law.

"KCPS will have no further comment on this pending litigation, as its focus remains on increasing student achievement."

"LINC has been notified of the above lawsuit. LINC denies the allegations and intends to vigorously defend. Plaintiff was never an employee of LINC and she did not cooperate when LINC requested information from her. This matter has been referred to LINC's legal counsel for defense of the litigation and LINC will not have further public comment on this matter while it is pending in Court."

KCTV5 was unable to reach Bradford, but court documents show he denies all claims against him.

Click here to read those court documents.

Bradford was charged in municipal court with bodily injury. He will appear in court on April 19 on the charges.

KCTV5 found that Bradford is also listed in another sexual harassment lawsuit involving an employee who claims she was told to perform sexual favors or be reported to authorities.

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