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Parks worker speaks out about abuse case

June 26, 2012 2:25:38 PM PDT
Almost a year ago to the day of the abuse at a Parks Department facility, the convicted worker was sentenced to prison and for the first time, the victim spoke out.

"It's been very difficult. Emotionally it has been just a mess," she said.

A victim of sex abuse and forcible touching, this city employee who wishes to remain anonymous is speaking out, critical of the Parks Department where she works.

"I can't trust parks department. I can't trust the people I work for," she said.

A year ago, working at the 86th Street shops along the transverse in Central Park, she says she was inappropriately touched under her clothing by fellow employee, Vernon Gowdy.

"He exposed his private area to me at my office desk," she explained. "I was shocked. I didn't even know what to do. I froze."

Eventually charged, brought to trial, and convicted, Vernon Gowdy was sentenced to four months in prison. But now the victim and others who support her are critical of how the Parks Department handled the complaint.

"We made an EEO complaint. Nothing was done about the EEO complaint. In fact nothing has been done to this day about the EEO complaint," Dilcy Benn, president of Local 1505, said.

"This matter was taken seriously by the agency," says a Parks spokesperson in this statement. "The agency has cooperated fully in both the criminal investigation and the prosecution of Mr. Gowdy. We are moving to terminate him."

But the victim says she has been teased by fellow workers. She has also repeatedly asked to be transferred, she says.

"I felt like Parks did not protect me or back me in what happened to me in my office. I felt like everyone was against me," she said.

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