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Woman claims former Georgetown College president sexually harassed her for years in lawsuit

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Posted at 12:29 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 18:16:29-05

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A second woman has come forward to accuse former Georgetown College president William Jones of sexual harassment. The woman is also suing the College for retaliation after making the formal complaint.

According to a civil lawsuit, the woman claims she was "subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment in the form of unwelcome sexual advances and other sexually offensive conduct by Jones," which led to a hostile work environment. LEX 18 will not identify the woman given the nature of the case.

The woman claims in the lawsuit that the College knew "or reasonably should have known" that Jones was abusing his power as president.

The new lawsuit comes months after Jones was fired as president of Georgetown College following allegations of sexual assault with another female College employee, which we will name in this article as Jane Doe. That employee claims she was sexually assaulted by Jones during an out-of-state work trip in Indianapolis.

"After an extensive review of the investigation, it was determined that the evidence did not support criminal charges," an official with the Marion County, Indiana Prosecutor's Office tells LEX 18.

The College fired Jones shortly after the allegations were made. In the civil lawsuit, the second woman claims she was the one who told Georgetown College officials that Jones sexually assaulted her colleague, Jane Doe, while on the work trip.

The second woman says she met Jones in 2016 while working at a child development program that served employees of Bethany College in Kansas. Jones served as Bethany College's president at the time. In or around 2018, the woman says Jones used his influence to give the woman a significant raise and get her husband a job at Bethany College. Following those gestures, the woman says she was subjected to "unwelcome sexual harassment in the form of sexual advances and requests for sexual favors" and ended up submitting to the advances after feeling compelled to do so. The lawsuit says Jones continued to schedule overnight trips with her so they could be together.

In 2019, after succumbing to his "unwelcome sexual demands," the woman says Jones helped advance her career by giving her a leadership role at Bethany College despite no prior experience in that particular field.

Later that year, Jones was hired as President of Georgetown College. Shortly after he started at the College, the lawsuit claims Jones used his authority to create a position for her to further her career and continue his "unwelcome sexual demands." The woman says she "reluctantly" accepted the offer for the increased pay/benefits and because Jones made it appear that her career was dependent on him.

The lawsuit says Jones continued to schedule overnight trips with her where he continued to make "unwelcome sexual demands." At times, the woman says she tried to persuade Jones to take his wife on these trips, but Jones insisted that she accompany him.

Around July 2020, the woman says she separated and later divorced her husband. Months later, Jones arranged for the woman to receive another raise now that she was a single mother. In or around May 2021, the lawsuit claims Jones became "obsessed" with the woman and talked about possibly leaving his wife for her. She discouraged him from doing so because she didn't want any relationship with him and said she would no longer "give in to his sexual demands."

After the rejection, the woman said his obsession and harassment of her "intensified." The woman says Jones frequently touched her in a "sexually intimate manner" in public and private places. She also claims he made a key to her home without her knowledge.

The lawsuit states the woman started dating someone around June 2021. As a result, the woman says he became "uncontrollably jealous," including confronting her "in an aggressive manner" while she was on a date.

She claims he tried to sabotage her relationship by offering to promote her to a position that "would require her to be available to him '24/7' and leave no time for personal relationships."

In the middle of October 2021, the lawsuit claims Jones attempted to force the woman to attend an out-of-state work trip, but she was excused because her minor son had an event she had to attend. Jane Doe was sent in her place, and she later alleged Jones sexually assaulted her while on the trip.

Later that week, the lawsuit claims Jones became "increasingly jealous and enraged" after learning the woman planned to bring a date to several events and refused to attend at least one as a result. The woman claims Jones later confronted her in public and threatened her employment.

The lawsuit states Jane Doe saw the confrontation and asked to meet with the woman privately. They met for coffee in late October. That's when Doe shared her story that she was sexually assaulted by Jones during the out-of-state work trip. Doe did not tell the woman whether she planned to make a formal harassment complaint. The woman said she offered ways to cope with what had happened and provided support.

Days later, the lawsuit says Jones met with the woman and "professed his love for her" while also stating she would not have a job without him. On Monday, November 1, she filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment against Jones, reporting what Jane Doe had told her while also reporting the ongoing sexual harassment she had been subjected to. The same day, Jone was removed as President of Georgetown College. Three days later, she was interviewed by an attorney allegedly hired by Georgetown to investigate claims of harassment against Jones.

The lawsuit claims that shortly after making her formal complaint and cooperating with the College's investigation into the claims, the woman was placed on paid leave. She remained on paid leave until she was fired by Georgetown College on December 16 and is currently receiving therapy, the lawsuit states.

The woman claims in the lawsuit she suffered "irreparable harm and injury" and says she should be compensated for the loss of income and benefits as well as severe emotional distress and mental anxiety. She is also seeking a jury trial in Scott County.

We reached out to Georgetown College for comment, and they provided the following statement:

"Although a case has been filed in Scott County Circuit Court against the College and William Jones, the College does not comment on matters that are under litigation. Georgetown College continues to uphold the highest of principles. Actions by individuals do not reflect the institution as a whole."