A former surgical technician with Lovejoy Surgicenter has filed a suit against the abortion clinic, saying she witnessed a supervisor fondle unconscious patients and even draw a picture of a bird on one. She also alleges the supervisor exposed her breasts to clinic staff and wore a cock ring as a bracelet.
Filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court, attorneys for Kimberly Binnington say that Lovejoy Surgicenter's Operating Room Supervisor Evie Gradwohl created a hostile work environment, and that the center failed to address Binnington's concerns even after she reported them three times between her hiring in January 2011 and when she quit in May. Located in Northwest Portland, Lovejoy Surgicenter is the largest provider of abortions in the metro area.
Binnington alleges that she saw Gradwohl fondle the breasts of an unconscious patient and inappropriately touch others, and that she also observed Gradwohl making demeaning comments about patients' clothing, hygiene and bodies. The suit also says that Gradwohl drew a bird on another patient and then bragged about it on Facebook in February.
Binnington, who is married, alleges that Gradwohl also tried to pressure her into having sex with a male friend of Gradwohl's named "Charlie" and encouraged her to build an online dating profile. The suit also alleges that Gradwhol exposed her augmented breasts to Binnington and tried to have Binnington touch them.
The suit alleges another supervisor failed to do act on her concerns. Instead, Binnington says that Gradwohl grew increasingly hostile, including throwing a hanger at her.
"The issues were concerning enough that we felt it was an important case to file and the individual that we respresent did her best to deal with a pretty difficult situation," Katelyn Oldham, an attorney with Portland's Crispin Employment Lawyers, tells WW. "I hope (Lovejoy Surgicenter) has changed some of their practices."
Clinic Director Kayla Reich says that she cannot comment on the litigation, but she did confirm that Gradwohl is no longer working at Lovejoy Surgicenter.
No complaint was filed with the Bureau of Labor and Industries, says spokesman Bob Estabrook. A spokeswoman for the Oregon Nursing Board says that the agency cannot say whether Gradwohl is currently under investigation, and Gradwohl has no previous sustained complaints on file.