Woman claims she was sexually assaulted by rental property employee

David Yates Jul. 6, 2010, 7:34am

In a suit filed against Woodrow Rentals, Karen Barks is claiming a rental property employee used a backup key to break into her home and sexually assault her.

Barks filed suit against the owner of the rental property, Woodrow Dorman Jr., and the man who allegedly assaulted her, James Belew, on June 24 in Orange County District Court.

According to the suit, Belew worked as a funeral director for Dorman Funeral Home, but also handled rental property transactions for Dorman.

In her suit, Barks claims Belew watched porn at work and routinely had sex with rental tenants and bragged about it to co-workers.

She also asserts that he had a warrant out for his arrest and Dorman negligently failed to perform a background check before hiring him and was negligent in not firing him for his improper behavior at work.

On Feb. 19, 2009, Barks alleges she was at home sleeping when Belew let himself into her locked apartment. Belew had rented the apartment to her two days earlier, the suit states.

Belew refused to leave, pulled up Barks' night gown and "performed prolonged forced oral sex on" her as she protested, court papers say.

"After learning of the sexual assault, Dorman continued to employ Belew for several weeks without reprimand or change in polices ... therefore ratifying Belew's conduct," the suit states.

Bark is suing for her medical expenses, mental anguish and lost wages.

She is represented by Beaumont attorney Kenneth Lewis of the Bush Lewis law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Dennis Powell, 163rd Judicial District.

Case No. B-100305-c

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