Thursday, June 16, 2011


Fairview Heights, ILL (SafeCITY) - Ashley Alford, a 26-year-old St. Louis woman was awarded $95 million in damages after her boss allegedly whacked her on the head with his penis.

Take a moment and let that sink in. $95 million!

Alford sued Aaron's Inc., a national rent-to-own furniture retailer, claiming that the company failed to take action after a manager sexually assaulted her.

Alford claimed that the sexual harassment began shortly after she was hired in 2005, and came to a head in 2006 when her manager assaulted her with his penis on two occasions.

Alford told the court that the store's manager, Richard Moore, nicknamed her "Trixie" before groping her breasts and commenting about their size. Other male employees at the store also allegedly joined in the harassment, court documents said.

Alford's breaking point came in September, 2006 when Moore approached her from behind while she was sitting on the stockroom floor.

That's when Moore allegedly "removed his penis from his pants and intentionally proceeded to hit Plaintiff on the top of her head with his penis," according to the complaint.

The following month, Moore allegedly pushed Alford down on a sofa in a back room, lifted her shirt and restrained her while he masturbated on her chest.

Alford told the court that she called the company's sexual harassment hotline, but an investigator never returned her call. The suit also states that she was denied a promotion after reporting the harassment.

Moore was reportedly arrested after sexually assaulting Alford in the back room and never returned to work.

Alford reportedly stayed on the job for approximately six more months, but quit when it became apparent that she wouldn't be promoted because she filed the complaint.

Following the trial, the jury found that Moore had assaulted and battered Alford. The jury also found Aaron Inc. liable for negligent supervision, sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress through Moore's actions.

The company dismissed the award as a case of "runaway jury."

"Aaron's is extremely disappointed with the jury's verdict and believes that the award does not accurately reflect the evidence that was presented in this case," said Aaron's spokesperson, Chad Strickland.

The attorney who originally filed the suit for Alford in 2008, Judy Cates, stated that the $95 million award will likely be capped at about $40 million due to federal law.

The company's total net worth is estimated to be $980 million, and earned $118 Million in profit for 2010, according to court documents.

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