Customer claims she was sexually harassed by used car salesman

SEATTLE — New information about a Seattle car dealership sued for sexual harassment.

Jay Krulewitch, the lawyer for a woman identified in court documents as "E.C.," told KIRO 7 that his client has reached a settlement with Pierre MoneyMart.

The woman sued the dealership on Lake City Way Northeast, claiming a salesman inappropriately touched her when she tried to buy a used car.

According to Krulewitch, terms of the settlement prevent him from releasing details of what his client may have received, but he said she is happy with the outcome.

KIRO 7's requests for comment from the dealership's lawyer went unanswered on Thursday.

Amy Clancy's previous report from July 18, 2019 below:

Pierre Money Mart is a successful car dealership on Lake City Way Northeast in Seattle.

That's where a woman claims she was sexually harassed by a dealership employee.

Before she had even picked out or test-driven a used vehicle, the woman – identified in court documents by the initials "E.C." -- told KIRO 7 a Pierre Money Mart employee inappropriately touched her inside a private office.

E.C. recently spoke with KIRO 7 at her lawyer's office, and asked that her identity be hidden, as it is in public documents.

"He got up and closed the door," E.C. said.  She then alleged the male employee grabbed "my waist, and he was like ‘Do you like Italian men?'"

The woman said the employee then poked her private parts with a pencil.

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The allegations are detailed in E.C.'s civil complaint for damages filed against the male employee and Pierre Enterprises, which includes Pierre Money Mart and Bill Pierre Ford.

After the alleged incident, "feeling completely humiliated, embarrassed and disrespected as a female client of Pierre Money Mart, E.C. left" according to the lawsuit.

However, E.C. claims the salesman's inappropriate behavior continued.

"That night, he kept calling me," she said.

When KIRO 7 asked the purpose of the calls, E.C. said the salesman was "trying to hook up" with her.

According to her complaint, E.C. "was disgusted with his actions in the dealership and disgusted that he would pursue her through these phone calls."

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E.C. said she called Pierre Enterprises repeatedly in an effort to report what had happened.  After being directed to multiple dealership employees with no results, her civil complaint reveals a meeting with dealership management was eventually scheduled.

At that meeting, E.C. told KIRO 7 she was asked by Pierre Money Mart managers what she wanted them to do.  According to her complaint, "E.C. demanded that (the employee) be fired but the official refused to do anything" to the salesman.

Instead, she claims she was offered "any kind of car" she wanted because a manager said "we don't want the bad publicity."

E.C. refused the offer.

Pierre Money Mart employees "were trying to buy her off. They wanted to buy her silence" Seattle lawyer Jay Krulewitch told KIRO 7.

Three weeks after the alleged incident at the dealership, E.C. called the Seattle Police Department.

The incident report is part of her lawsuit and details that the responding officer was dispatched "for a report of sexual molestation in which a female was complaining that a male had touched her inappropriately with a pen."

The report also details the woman was "conflicted about filing a police report but she was concerned that if (the employee) had done it to her he had probably done it to someone else and would continue to do it."

The case was not assigned to a detective.

"I don't know why this case was just shunted aside," lawyer Krulewitch told KIRO 7. "I think it's unfortunate because I think what he did was sexual assault. This was criminal."

However, the Seattle Police Department disagrees.

After the officer took the report and documented the allegations, the sergeant of the sexual assault unit determined there was not enough evidence of a crime, according to Sgt Sean Whitcomb of the SPD.

"It's creepy, but it's not criminal," Whitcomb told KIRO 7.

Whitcomb added "is there a civil case? Absolutely. The case for something in civil court is much lower, the threshold is the preponderance of evidence. So we certainly applaud this victim in her pursuit of civil justice."

But Whitcomb said, from a criminal standpoint, "there was not enough evidence to move it forward for a criminal investigation."

E.C. said, for months she didn't discuss what allegedly happened, even with her closest friends. But earlier this year she contacted Krulewitch, angry and determined to talk about it now because she is "OK with my truth and what happened to me."

"I just wanted to make sure this didn't happen to anyone else," E.C. said.

The SPD's case is closed, but Sgt. Whitcomb said it could be reopened if additional womEn come forward with similar claims.

Meanwhile, KIRO 7 contacted the dealership's lawyer multiple times to request an on-camera interview or comment. Those requests were unanswered.

The salesman accused of the harassment has filed court documents denying any wrongdoing.