Washington — The owner of a floristing shop in Washington state has sued a local city, saying she was retaliated against for filing a police report over an alleged sexual assault.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Umatilla County Superior Court argues the city’s use of the term “sexual assault” in an unrelated complaint was inappropriate and in violation of state law.
“The City’s use and misuse of the word ‘sexual assault’ as a euphemism for ‘consensual sex’ is in direct violation of State law,” the complaint says.
“No matter how it appears in the complaint, the City has the power to punish those who violate the laws of their state.”
City officials have said they were unaware of the lawsuit.
The florister, Charleston Scoll, told the Associated Press that she is not suing for monetary damages but rather for damages for her safety.
Scoll said the city “misused” its powers to punish her for filing the police report and “the City is in violation” of the state’s sexual assault statute.
In an emailed statement, the florier said the lawsuit is an attempt to silence a woman who has spoken out about sexual harassment and assault.
“My lawsuit is not about money.
It is not a political statement.
It’s about the rights of a woman to speak out against the City of Gainesville,” Scoll said.
Scol is suing over an allegation of sexual assault made by a female employee at her downtown downtown business in August 2016.
The woman said Scoll made unwanted sexual advances to her, and that she reported the incident to the Gainesville Police Department, which launched an investigation.
The city and the woman settled the case.
The complaint says Scoll then “reached out to other floristers who reported the alleged incidents” and the Gainessville Police Department was contacted.
The Gainesville Florist Association, a business association, also filed the complaint with the city.
The group did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The City of Fort Pierce, the city where Scoll is a member, did not return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday.
The Gainesville City Attorney’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
The Washington Post’s Scott MacFarlane contributed to this report.