Two Portland women are suing Common Ground Wellness Cooperative for $500,000 after one of the spa's patrons allegedly masturbated next to them in a sauna.
The man, William James Wimberly Jr., 26, has racked up a series of similar allegations. Since 2015, Multnomah County prosecutors have charged him with 19 counts of public indecency or indecent exposure. He has been convicted twice for public indecency, and has two ongoing cases.
The civil complaint, filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, says Common Ground was negligent in "failing to screen individuals in sex-related criminal offenses" and "failing to properly monitor the facility for sexually deviant individuals."
One of the women, who had been a member of Common Ground for four years, according to the complaint, says Wimberly sat down next to her in the sauna on Dec. 7 and began to masturbate, "doing so at an angle such that Plaintiff's partner and another individual in the sauna could not clearly see what he was doing." She reported the incident to the front desk.
The second woman said that, two days later, on Dec. 9, she was in the sauna when "Wimberly masturbated in her presence while staring at her."
It was after the second incident that Common Ground barred Wimberly from the spa, the complaint says.
Prior to Thursday's lawsuit, prosecutors charged Wimberly in January with felony public indecency for two incidents at the Common Ground spa. According to the affidavit, Wimberly was nude in a sauna (spa rules require coverage from at least a towel), and he began scooting next to another woman to the point where his knee was touching hers.
Another woman at the spa reported that Wimberly was "furiously" masturbating in the sauna next to her in December of 2019, the affidavit says. Wimberly is scheduled to appear before the court Feb. 21 regarding two charges.
County prosecutors previously charged Wimberly with public indecency and sexual abuse in June of 2019, public indecency in March of 2017, and public indecency in March of 2016 for masturbating on a bench at Parkrose Transit Center. Wimberly pleaded not guilty, and the case was later dismissed.
In December of 2015, Wimberly was charged with 6 counts of indecent exposure, 6 counts of public indecency, and one count of harassment after he flashed his genitals in public. He was convicted on four counts of public indecency.
Reached by phone on Thursday, Common Ground declined to comment on the lawsuit.