SANDUSKY, Ohio — The world that lives inside the Cedar Point gates signaled adventure and childhood memories.
That’s especially true for families living near the Sandusky park, like the McKays. "Any time we would have any sort of time off, it was like "oh my gosh can I go to Cedar Point?” said Erin McKay, 21, who grew up in Vermilion.
For her, Cedar Point was an integral part of her childhood. Working there herself was just a natural course of life.
“Since I was born, my mom worked there. That's how she met my dad,” she said.
At age 14, McKay applied for a job at the amusement park of her summertime dreams.
“Like, that sounds like a dream. I would love to do that. So I applied and got I got the job,” she said.
That dream would soon sour, her optimism swiftly dulled. On four separate occasions over the next several summers, McKay said coworkers groped or sexually harassed her.
Her complaints were brushed aside by older coworkers or supervisors.
At age 17, McKay lost her virginity to a coworker who she says raped her inside the Cedar Point employee dorms.
“He just started taking my clothes off and kissing me and I told him to stop,” she told 3News Investigates. “And he just did what he pleased.”
McKay is one of the undocumented sexual assaults 3News Investigates uncovered this year. In all, 28 Cedar Point workers have filed police reports since 2017 saying they were sexually assaulted inside the dorms.
Unlike the 28 women who filed police reports, McKay did not.
After watching 3News Investigates' previous reports on the sexual assaults of others, McKay has now come forward saying she reported the rape to Cedar Point officials, but she was discouraged, she said, from reporting the offense to police.
She said she spoke to Cedar Point executive Joanne Mueller, the head of human resources, about the encounter.
“I was told that I was at fault for being in the dorms too late and that was all that came of that,” she said.
Mueller left the park in May after four years as vice president of human resources. Efforts to reach her for comment have not been successful.
Cedar Point has refused all requests to discuss the allegations made by former workers, who say the park allows its employee dorms to operate with loose supervision, creating a culture of drug and alcohol use that leads to sexual misconduct.
In addition, former HR workers have told 3News Investigates that the park suspended its background checks on new hires in 2021 to quickly hire 6,500 workers needed for the summer season.
Those actions have fueled outrage and calls for change from lawmakers such as Sen. Sherrod Brown and Gov. Mike DeWine.
Park officials refuse to discuss the allegations, and instead released a statement denying any wrongdoing.
The safety of our guests and associates is at the forefront of everything we do. While we do not comment on specific personnel matters as we protect the privacy of our associates, we feel it is important to reiterate that every associate who feels unsafe in any way is welcome, without exception, to discuss with management. In no way are any associates discouraged from escalating any situation that may make them feel uncomfortable.
Our safety programs and resources are robust. Our housing is monitored 24/7 with multiple resources available to all associates, including on-site security, an emergency texting program, a dedicated and confidential associate “Speak-Up Hotline,” and access to mental health programs.
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, and all reports related to alleged sexual assault are available through Sandusky PD.
Amanda Mullins, who worked at the park for two summers, told 3News Investigates that she was fired two days after reporting she was sexually harassed by a male coworker in 2021.
“I was terrified, absolutely terrified,” she said of the messages she received from the coworker. She said the messages were followed up by him following her around the park.
“My mindset is like what if he can hurt me?”
Two days after reporting the harassment to the Cedar Point Police Department, her dorm room was searched. A vape pen containing THC and purchased legally, she said, was found.
She was fired. Her coworker remained on staff.
“Do you think Cedar Point has a culture?” 3News Investigates Marisa Saenz asked.
“It's very, I’d say, see no evil hear no evil,” Mullins replied.
- 3News Investigates: Former recruiters say Cedar Point ignored background check delays during 2021 hiring binge
- 3News Investigates: Series examines sexual assaults reported at Cedar Point worker dorms
- 3News Investigates: Cedar Point sexual assault reports called 'horrifying' and 'disturbing'
- 3News Investigates: Critics believe culture inside Cedar Point dorms may fuel sexual assaults
- 3News Investigates: Cedar Point and shattered summer dreams