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11 Investigates: Cedar Point rejects county's sexual harassment training offer

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said he doesn't know if Cedar Point did its own in-house sexual harassment training.

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Kenzie remembers little from that night last October.

But, she says, she remembers vividly being raped by two co-workers at Cedar Point.

In her second year as a "Screamster" during the park's popular Halloweekends, Kenzie admits to drinking too much.

"About 4 o'clock in the morning, I was slumped over in the drinking fountain (inside the dorms)," she said. "The water was flowing and I was just laying there."

11 Investigates has seen a picture of her passed out near the water fountain.

She remembers being helped down the hall and into the dorm room of a co-worker she says she did not know well. She says his friend also came in and then says she was raped by both men as she slipped in and out of consciousness.

"I woke up to me projectile vomiting into a trash can," she said. "They had stopped, but they were like waiting for me to finish throwing up so they could continue or whatever ... and that was the last thing I remember."

In early June, she testified before an Erie County grand jury. The panel chose not to indict the men. A woman who appeared in the May series, Raven, also received a "no bill" from the grand jury.

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"I'm upset, sad, angry, but mostly upset because they think they got off scot-free," Kenzie said. "And that puts other people in jeopardy."

In early May, 11 Investigates reported that there had been 27 sexual assault allegations in Cedar Point's employee housing since 2017. There have been two more since then. Only one person who filed a report has seen any kind of justice. 16 people have walked away from the often-long, difficult process of obtaining a conviction.

After declining to go on camera for our original series of stories, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter interviewed with us and WKYC, our Cleveland sister station.

"I think it's been a problem, been a problem over the years," Baxter said of the results of the joint TV investigation.

“The criminal justice system is unforgiving as far the amount of evidence you to need to prove in any case. Sexual assault cases are really difficult in and of themselves to prosecute and convict offenders.”

A major roadblock is that the cases often come down to a "he said, she said" scenario. Kenzie said she was raped. The men told police she initiated the contact.

Baxter said an issue investigators have is that participants are usually drinking and may have clouded memories. But, he said that drinking doesn't give a man a free pass when it comes to having sex with a woman. In fact, if the woman is highly intoxicated and can't give consent, the contact could result in criminal charges.

However, when it was pointed out to him that even the men admitted to police that Kenzie was throwing up during the incident, indicating that she was intoxicated. He said he didn't know all the details about the case and a different prosecutor had presented it to the grand jury.

Throughout the interview, he stressed that awareness and education were important to bringing down the number of incidents.

He said the county offered free sexual harassment training for Cedar Point supervisors and employees in 2019, but the park did not take them up on their offer.

11 Investigates has seen an email sent to former human resources director Joanne Mueller and housing director Dean Macur discussing the training. We also reviewed the PowerPoint presentation that was offered to the park.

Cedar Point did not respond to a request for comment about why they turned down the county's offer.

Baxter said he doesn't know if Cedar Point did its own in-house sexual harassment training.

"I know for me that all I can say is that we offered it to them, like we do schools and any other organization that might be interested in that presentation, and we did not hear back from them,” he said.

Sarah Reynolds is the director of Erie County’s victim assistance program. She is frustrated by the assaults and hopes Cedar Point will allow her team to be more involved in preventing them.

“I would love to have the opportunity to speak to them, just speak to the employees and have the opportunity to be able to get in there," Reynolds said. "Our SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) unit coordinator Tamara Kilbride does an amazing job, and our presentations are just awesome. Give us the opportunity to get in there to help these individuals and to make sure that they’re aware of all those things to be looking for.”

More than half of Cedar Point employees who filed sexual assault reports have decided not to continue to pursue charges. The process can take months for the investigation and testing to be completed. Interviews can be invasive and testifying can retraumatize victims. But Reynolds said she still wants to be there for victims.

"I just want each person to know that their case and they are my priority no matter what happens. Maybe that person chooses not to go forward because they aren't comfortable testifying or talking to law enforcement. That is their choice, but I hope they at least utilize the services my program offers."

 For Kenzie, she went through the entire process. She left the courtroom with fear and anger, but not the justice she sought. She fears for Cedar Point employees who continue to party on the weekends and hopes they are in a protected environment. And her anger stems from the men she said raped her not being indicted.

“That puts other people in jeopardy because that can happen to someone else again this year, and next year, and the following years," she said. "But not only that, I didn’t get the justice I deserve."

RELATED: WTOL 11, WKYC, WBNS sue Cedar Point for sexual assault records

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