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Former Cedar Point employees raise more allegations of sexual assault, harassment, lax hiring practices

Chief investigative reporter Bennett Haeberle talks with a state lawmaker who wrote a letter to Cedar Point last week demanding action.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — More former Cedar Point employees are coming forward with new allegations of sexual assault, harassment and concerns over hiring practices inside the amusement park – a week after a joint investigation aired by 10 Investigates and sister stations WTOL in Toledo and WKYC in Cleveland that revealed similar allegations.

A former employee, who worked at the park for three summers, told 10 Investigates he endured incidents of unwanted sexual touching or sexual harassment from two separate employees. 

The former employee asked that his identity be withheld because of what he claims he endured.

He said he didn’t fill out a police report – in part because he wanted to put it behind him – but said he did report the incidents to management, which he claims failed to adequately address the issue. 

“He approached me in the control booth of the ride – and he tried to get physical, touching me. And like sexual gestures, trying to make me want to do stuff with him…” the former employee told 10 Investigates. “I immediately told him no, it’s not appropriate. I’m not interested in anything like that.”

Like the other former employees who have spoken out about their experiences at Cedar Point, this former employee said he felt let down by the park’s response to his concerns.

“It makes you feel very uncomfortable because, you know, they’re your managers. They’re supposed to be there for you to work with you and make sure everything is going well for you at work. And it seems like they just pushed it to the side because it seems like they’re always focused on staffing, staffing, we want staffing.” 

His comments echoed the remarks of three women – all former employees – who said their job responsibilities included hiring applicants. The women, who asked not to be identified, told our sister station WTOL that there has been increased pressure to staff the park – especially during the pandemic – even if it meant hiring people without completing a proper background check.

“When I first started. It was basically if they pick up the phone you were supposed to hire them. It didn’t matter if they gave you a crap interview or not,” the woman said, who spoke on a condition of anonymity. “They were more worried about the staffing and less about the well-being of their associates.”

Taken together they represent additional allegations against Cedar Point on top of the 27 sexual assaults reported to Sandusky Police. So far, Cedar Point has not agreed to an on-camera interview to address these issues and incidents.

When asked about the claims regarding the company's background checks, a Cedar Point spokesman provided the following statement to 10 Investigates Wednesday: 

“Cedar Point conducts background checks on new hire associates. It has been our longstanding practice and it continues to be a vital tool in our hiring process. If there are issues uncovered in the background check that could jeopardize the health and safety of our associates or guests, we take appropriate action up to and including termination of the associate.”

Their statement did not address 10 Investigates' questions about the additional sexual assault and harassment claims.

Cedar Point’s past statement on the previous allegations was as follows:

“The safety of our guests and associates is always our top priority. Through a variety of methods, our on-site housing is monitored 24/7. In addition, our team is available to assist associates at any time with multiple resources, including on-site security, an emergency texting program, a dedicated and confidential associate “Speak-Up Hotline” and access to mental health programs. Associates are made aware of these resources during their onboarding process. 

Cedar Point takes these matters very seriously. All reports of associate misconduct are immediately responded to, reviewed, and if appropriate, escalated to local law enforcement for further investigation.”

Last week, State Rep. Lisa Sobecki, D – Toledo, crafted a letter to Cedar Point’s CEO, which urged the theme park to investigate and wrote that "the allegations are deeply troubling" and "have revealed an unacceptable pattern.”

Rep. Sobecki says unless changes are made these reported incidents will continue to happen. She told Bennett Haeberle to "keep investigating."

"Continue to keep that pressure there. Continue, continue, continue... because if we don't continue to focus on this, incidents like this will continue to happen," Sobecki said.

Rep. Sobecki told 10 Investigates that these employees: “should be able to feel that when you go to work that you’re working in a safe environment, and that your employer is looking out for your best interest and is going to be there in your darkest hour when you need to have that employee there for you.” 

Since crafting her letter last Friday, a representative from her office said she has not heard back from Cedar Point.

“No response is troublesome,” Rep. Sobecki said. “When there's these allegations that are being made, and it's not showing me that they're really taking this serious, and we they need to take this very serious.”

On Thursday, 10 Investigates also spoke to U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown who last week publicly called on Cedar Point to make changes in wake of our reporting.

“We have very pointedly called on them to do some very specific things. The news continues to sort of unfold. And it’s not good news what’s happened there and Cedar Point has a responsibility to the community, to those employees,” Sen. Brown said. 

If you have a tip or information we need to know about this story or something else you think we should look into, please email 10 Investigates at 10investigates@10tv.com.

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