Victim in sexual harassment suit speaks out

NORWICH – “Hesitant, soft spoken and naive” – those are the words that Administrative Law Judge Christine Marbach Kellett used in her ruling to describe the demeanor of the young Norwich woman who was awarded $500,000 in a sexual harassment case filed with the Human Rights Division of New York State.

The girl, who was employed at the Quizno’s sub shop in Norwich, claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of her employer.

In an interview with The Evening Sun Tuesday, the girl, who worked at the shop for approximately four months, described partial owner and manager Dale Blackwood as “pushy and weird” from the start, and while she admits she thought Blackwood and his partner Melissa Almonor were “cool” at first, she soon became uncomfortable in the work environment.

According to the girl, whose name is being withheld in accordance with The Evening Sun’s policy of not identifying victims of sex crimes, Blackwood often talked about his other business interests, which included photography and music, and he repeatedly asked the girl, then a high school senior, to come to his apartment and see his photographs. After three weeks of requests, the girl said her employer started threatening her job if she didn’t go.

“He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I didn’t know what to do,” she said. When the girl did go to Blackwood’s apartment, she said he sexually assaulted her. She confided in one friend, but told no one else.

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