SANDUSKY, Ohio — It was 1994. The Dallas Cowboys had won the Super Bowl, "Forrest Gump" was the hit movie of the year and fashion had gone from bright colors to grunge.
A teen, who we'll call Annie, was 18 years old and living life to the fullest, but she was in need of some cash. The Toledoan decided to get a job at one of the biggest attractions in the state - Cedar Point.
"You know the movie 'Grease'? Well, that's what that summer was," she says. A time to work, party and live life as a young adult. She decided to live in Cedar Point employee housing.
"It was a fun summer - until Aug. 5," Annie said.
It's a date that is seared into her mind. Annie said she met a guy who also worked at the park, and he asked her to come to his dorm. She said they were just having fun, playing a drinking game. Except the fun and games would quickly come to a stop.
"He was on me. He was taking off my clothes. He was... he wouldn't stop when I said no," Annie said.
She said she went to park managers to try and learn more about the man who raped her, but she said they wouldn't give her that information. She only knew his dorm number and first name.
"I did go to the office, and I told them about it. They said, 'Well, were you drinking?' I said everybody drinks, and they go, 'Well you are underage. Were you drinking? Because if you were drinking, you are going to lose your job and you're going to lose your bonus,'" she said.
Survivors are afraid
Annie went home for a few weeks, confused about what to do next. But what then happened is something she never saw coming.
"I found out I was pregnant," she said. "I didn't know what to do, I really didn't. So many things were going through my mind."
She didn't believe in abortions and decided to keep the baby - to raise him alone.
Annie said she didn't go to the police because she was afraid they wouldn't do anything and that she would be blamed for what happened.
"What survivors tell us is they are afraid, and they're afraid of retaliation from their perpetrator. They are afraid that they won't be believed by the people whom they tell," said Sondra Miller, the president of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
Annie said her mother kicked her out of the house after she told her about the pregnancy.
"For years I thought it was my fault, and now I know it's not my fault, I didn't do anything wrong," Annie said.
She was asked by WTOL 11 when she realized that. "When I was at my son's therapist appointment and I heard the news," she replied. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I didn't do anything wrong.'"
The news was of our investigation, which brought to light that 27 sexual assault allegations have been reported to police in the past five years by Cedar Point employees.
"It's been almost 30 years, and I hope that this right now helps other women come out," Annie said.
She added that a weight was lifted off her shoulders when she found out she wasn't the only one, but anger also came with that realization.
"They're still putting kids in danger, and they're still not doing anything to change it. I have living proof of what happened to me," Annie said.
WTOL 11 investigates worked to corroborate Annie's claims. Our team spoke with her Cedar Point roommate from that summer, a woman who continues to be her best friend all these years later. The woman confirmed many of the key details of Annie's story.
The friend admitted that Annie didn't tell her about the rape until she saw the 11 Investigates reports earlier this month, but she told us, "Now it all makes sense."
The friend said there was a change in Annie after Aug. 5, 1994. The extroverted, bubbly teen became more guarded. She said she wishes Annie had told her sooner, but she is 100 percent confident Annie is telling the truth.
Continuing claims of sexual assault
The claims coming into our newsroom continue to be vetted by our investigative team.
WTOL 11 reached out to Cedar Point about Annie's claims. A spokesman did not address those claims, but he responded to a separate question about background checks for employees, saying those checks are a key part of the hiring process.
Cedar Point officials continue to refer to their initial statement:
"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."
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