Nashville TN July 15 2017 A woman who says a coworker raped her as they worked inside Bridgestone Arena is suing the cleaning company that employed her for not researching the man’s background.
A federal lawsuit filed Thursday in Nashville accuses Command Center, a company that provided some cleaning services at the arena, of not conducting a thorough background check on the man she says raped her.
“Command Center should have known that (the male employee) posed a substantial risk of sexual harassment and abuse of female employees,” the lawsuit states.
The man is a registered sex offender, and Command Center was ultimately fired from its cleaning contract at Bridgestone Arena
An attorney for Command Center declined to comment.
The woman says the man raped her in a bathroom at the arena in December 2016 when they were working after a Nashville Predators hockey game. The man was arrested and charged with rape the same month.
The Nashville District Attorney presented the case to the Davidson County Grand Jury, which decided in March not to bring criminal charges against the man.
According to officials, sex crimes detectives discovered conflicts with the woman’s statements, including a potential prior relationship between the man and the woman.
The lawsuit states the woman, who is represented by attorney Chris Smith, didn’t testify before the grand jury, and the jury didn’t hear additional information about the altercation that could have changed jurors minds.
“The absence of criminal charges in this case is sadly typical of the overwhelming majority of sexual assault cases,” the lawsuit states.
“It is estimated that out of every 1000 instances of rape, only 13 cases get referred to a prosecutor, and only 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction.”
The lawsuit cites an FBI report for the statistic, a report also cited by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a national anti-sexual violence organization.
In a preliminary hearing, a Metro detective testified that there was no security camera in the area of the arena to capture the alleged attack.
Command Center was a subcontractor with SMS Holdings, which is hired by the Nashville Predators’ sister company Powers Management. Neither SMS or Powers were named in the lawsuit.
The investigation became a source of political intrigue last year when Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson publicly rebuked Ken Whitehouse, then a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, for accessing a police report about the alleged rape and releasing it to the media. Whitehouse ultimately resigned from his job.
This was the second alleged rape at Bridgestone Arena. In August, a woman reported being raped at a concert headlined by hip-hop star Drake. The investigation dragged on for months after suspect Leavy Johnson evaded police, but Johnson was arrested in April by federal agents in Florida and charged with the crime.