Dem Candidate in Gideon’s backyard created “abusive” workplace at Sexual Assault Response Organization
Gideon has track record of doing nothing in similar situations
AUGUSTA, ME– In light of the bombshell report by the Bangor Daily News that ME House Candidate Melanie Sachs (D- Freeport) fostered a ‘hostile’ and ‘abusive’ workplace at a sexual assault agency, Maine Republican Party Chair, Dr. Demi Kouzounas, is calling on Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D- Freeport) to demand Melanie Sachs drop out of her race:
“I am appalled by Melanie Sach’s behavior as Executive Director of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine,” said Chair Kouzounas. “For this many of her employees to come forward about her abusive behavior to both staff and survivors, including cutting mental health benefits and that workers feared to be alone with her, is incredibly concerning. There is no place for this type of behavior in any workplace, especially not in the Maine Legislature.”
“As a healthcare professional and business owner, I have a deep understanding of the importance of creating a safe environment for my employees and patients. Creating this type of abusive culture is unacceptable in and of itself, but to behave in this manner when dealing with the most vulnerable among us is well beyond the pale. I applaud the women who came forward to tell their stories and bring this to light.”
“I think we can all agree that this type of behavior does not deserve to be rewarded with the honor of serving in Augusta. As Speaker of the House, Leader of the Democrat caucus, and Sara Gideon’s replacement in Freeport, she has the duty to call on Melanie Sachs to drop out of the race immediately.”
“It is no secret that Sara Gideon has a long history of covering up for abusers within her caucus, including refusing to hold a Democrat lawmaker accountable for alleged sexual abuse of underage girls. It is time for Sara Gideon to stand up and do what’s right – now is not the time to do nothing.”
Gideon is the head of her party’s House campaign apparatus and her Leadership PAC is the third-largest donor to the House Democrat campaign arm.
Excerpts from the article:
- “‘We refuse to watch another coworker weep in their car after a meeting with Melanie or hold our breath every time she goes on a hospital accompaniment. The harm that Melanie has caused abounds and has been piling up for years,’ the three staff members, all of whom later left the organization, wrote in their complaint.
Seven former employees and one former intern at Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine spoke to the Bangor Daily News about their experiences working for Sachs, describing how she yelled at them, slammed doors, got angry when staff asked questions about their jobs and cut benefits for staff mental health. In response, some staff members worked out plans to never end up alone with her and recorded their interactions with her, several said.”
- “The “final straw” that led Tanksley and two other colleagues to file the complaint about Sachs in January 2019 stemmed from her time co-facilitating an in-person support group for survivors of sexual assault that quickly went “downhill,” she said.
When one member of the support group needed more individual attention in late 2018, Sachs declined the facilitators’ request to add a third advocate to help. Instead, Sachs said the support group member would have to leave, as the person had “too many needs,” according to the complaint.
When Tanksley and her co-facilitator “vehemently disagreed,” their boss said that, if they didn’t tell the support group participant to leave, Sachs would do it herself, according to the complaint. Ultimately they agreed they would rather end the group entirely.
Sachs’ overall response “blamed that survivor for her experience of a situation that SARSSM had placed her in,” the staff members wrote.
- Former employees also alleged that Sachs oversaw a violation of client confidentiality by ordering staff to go to a victim’s home where they disclosed that the person was a client… “That should never have happened,” Adell said. “We don’t barge into people’s homes, ever.”
- “I find Melanie’s handling of this entire situation to be unprofessional, unfounded, and in violation of multiple SARSSM policies, which is one of the many reasons why I can no longer work for this agency,”