Baytown woman brings suit against employer, co-worker over alleged sexual assault

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 5, 2013, 2:15pm

GALVESTON - A Baytown woman is suing her employer on allegations it allowed to for her supervisor to sexually assault her, recent court documents say.

According to a lawsuit brought against Evolution Industrial Cleaning LLC Sept. 3 in Galveston County District Court, plaintiff Vicki Jeffcoat was the target of Lance Hodge's unwanted advances during a work-related trip to Port Comfort in late August 2011.

The suit says the ordeal in question began when Hodge asked Jeffcoat to give him a ride so he can check on a project in the area.

After taking a look at said project, it was decided the pair would spend the night with the other workers.

Jeffcoat explains that Hodge asked her to take a walk with him to discuss work, but the latter instead talked about how she supposedly made him jealous by talking to another male colleague and that he "had fallen in love" with her.

She adds Hodge's alleged remarks made her uncomfortable, and when they were returning to their quarters, he grabbed her from behind "and was feeling her up and sucking on her neck in front of the other employees."

Hodge increased his efforts to get the claimant to sleep with him despite her adamant refusal, allegedly culminating in him poking her in the eye and calling her a "stupid b****," the original petition says.

A co-worker ultimately separated Hodge from the plaintiff, expressing "worry about the safety" of the latter.

Hodge joins Evolution as a co-defendant.

The company is faulted for failing to train and supervise employees such as Hodge, the suit says.

Consequently, Jeffcoat seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Attorney Philip J. Orth III of The Linebaugh Law Firm P.C. in Baytown is representing the complainant, and Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter is presiding over the case.

Case No. 13-CV-1155

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