A Kansas State University systems coordinator who allegedly sexually harassed a female co-worker for years — sending her graphic emails and leaving a sex toy in her office — was given a warning and is still employed, a lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit filed in federal court this week says that systems coordinator Kevin Yaussi sexually harassed his Information Systems Office co-worker, Paulette Arnold, and at least one other woman.
It also says the university has failed to “address and remedy the discrimination and harassment,” in part because Yaussi continues to work in Arnold’s building, even though he was removed from her team.
According to the lawsuit, the harassment began in 2013 and lasted until February 2016.
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It started with emails with sexually explicit and graphic messages. Some of the messages included pictures of Yaussi in his underwear. He wrote about “the sexual things he wished to do” to Arnold.
At least once, Yaussi tried to touch Arnold in the genital area.
Arnold told Yaussi that his behavior was inappropriate, asked him to stop and made it clear she was not interested in his advances.
The lawsuit alleges that over a period of time, Yaussi entered Arnold’s office and left items behind: purple panties, rum, food and a dildo.
Arnold began locking her door every time she left her office.
In January 2016, Arnold took time off from work to “manage her distress.”
When she told a co-worker, Marietta Milligan, about the harassment, Milligan informed Arnold that Yaussi had also harassed her.
Milligan had reported Yaussi’s behavior to her supervisor, Loren Wilson, in October 2014. Arnold made a formal complaint to Wilson in February 2016.
The lawsuit states that the university took seven months to determine Yaussi had sexually harassed Arnold on university property and using university technology.
The university also determined that Yaussi’s communications “contained graphic details of sex acts and fantasies.”
According to the lawsuit, the university decided that for a year Yaussi should only interact with Arnold for minimal work reasons.
He was permitted to participate in web conferences with Arnold, and though he was moved to a different department, he remained in the same building as Arnold.
Arnold, the lawsuit said, feared running into him.
Yaussi received a written warning, and a recommendation to complete training on sexual harassment and professionalism in the workplace.
Yaussi did not respond to a request for comment.
A Kansas State University spokesperson said the university does not discuss pending litigation.