A California woman is suing a posh golf club, claiming that while working as a beverage cart attendant, she was sexually abused, propositioned, forced to consume beer, and given narcotics.
The Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach, a coastal city south of Los Angeles, where Peyton Stover, 26, was employed in 2019, is being sued for more than $15 million, according to the Orange County Register.
Mitchel Queen, the club’s manager, and ClubCorp are named as defendants in her case, which was filed last week in Orange County Superior Court.
Stover relocated from Washington state to work as a beverage cart attendant at the 128-acre golf club, where she was supposed to develop connections with wealthy members and serve them beverages.
But according to the lawsuit, things took a bad turn when Poper asked her if she had “thick skin” and could “keep her lips shut” during the interview.
She was also forewarned by Stover’s predecessor that lecherous members would approach her and coerce her into drinking alcohol.
“Plaintiff wasn’t sure what to make of these comments at the time and merely brushed them off,” the lawsuit reportedly says.
A few months later, a member who has not been named started to harass and assault the woman sexually. The suit claims that this member forced the woman into a golf cart and bent her over in an inappropriate way.
Poper allegedly responded to the woman’s complaint that she was being objectified by saying, “Being objectified always gets you more money,” and adding that he would not take action because golfers paid a high price to join the club.
“Plaintiff understood this to mean that members were allowed to treat Old Ranch employees however they wished without repercussion or recourse and that Old Ranch condoned, ratified, and even encouraged this conduct as part of its business model in order to churn a profit,” the suit reportedly states.
The manager, Queen, was approached by Stover after Poper asked her what colour underwear she was wearing and flirted with her, according to Stover.
According to the complaint, “On each occasion, Queen just affirmed that he was aware that Poper had harassed other female Old Ranch employees sexually and that his conduct was creepy.”
“However, he took no action against Poper to cease this conduct,” it adds.
According to the lawsuit, Stover feared retaliation and firing if she persisted in raising concerns about the scandalous occurrences because “the culture at Old Ranch was that the club members’ demands outweighed Old Ranch’s legal obligations to its employees.”
According to the lawsuit, one golfer sent her several texts, grabbed her, kissed her without her permission, and sent her articles and adverts for sex items.
A further participant allegedly offered to give Stover $300 to see her breasts, pulled her shirt in front of other participants, and doused her in alcohol.
One text allegedly sent to her — and obtained by the news outlet — said: “When you spread those legs it kills me. Princess, I need to see you in action. Help me. You’ll get a big tip.”
According to Stover’s lawyer, Raymond Babaian, she didn’t call the police about the alleged attack because she was afraid of becoming a victim once more.
“It’s damn egregious. When you are in management, you have to protect employees and have a duty to investigate complaints. Those at Old Ranch failed miserably and, in fact, doubled down,” he told the Register.
Stover claimed that she eventually left and started teaching yoga, but that as a result of her experience, she developed depression and started drinking.
She reportedly added, “It was the most terrible experience I’ve ever experienced.” “I didn’t feel stronger for a whole year (after leaving Old Ranch). It seriously damaged my sense of value.
The club claims on its website that it has “embodied the finest Southern California lifestyle since its founding in 1967. Old Ranch is more than just a country club; it is a vibrant and friendly location for your life to happen. It has a rich history rooted in tradition and Western hospitality.
According to The Register, Poper was unavailable for comment.