Woman says contractor at Museum of Science and Industry sexually harassed her

A victim spoke to FOX 32 Tuesday claiming she was repeatedly sexually harassed while working on a contracted kitchen staff at The Museum of Science and Industry, and she says a subcontractor chef continues to abuse co-workers.

The former employee of Hospitality One says one man was fired for his actions, but another man she's accusing of abuse is still employed with the subcontractor. She says the museum and its contractors are not doing enough to protect current employees. 

“It's still going on, I have coworkers that call me and tell me what's going on,” said Mariela Gomez.

Former food service employee Mariela Gomez says she was the victim of sexual abuse while working at The Museum of Science and Industry. She says the harassment went on for a year until it turned violent in March.

Gomez says a co- worker, Santiago Lopez, sexually assaulted her and that she resisted and he slapped her in the face, causing her cheek to swell. 

Lopez later pled guilty to misdemeanor battery and was fired from his museum job. 

Gomez is accusing a chef of similar bad behavior, but managers never fired him.

"He will tell us 'oh take off your clothes' or the delivery guy will go drop off some stuff and he would say, 'oh do you know this whore?'" Gomez said.

Gomez’s lawyer, Mario Utreras, released a report detailing some of the accusations. The chef "...grabbed her breasts and behind with tongs, about 5-7 times."

And in February of last year, "the chef grabbed Gomez from behind and cupped her breasts and said she was not wearing a bra."

Now, Gomez and her attorney have filed discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The chef's employer is contractor Sodexo. A spokesperson for the company says in a statement they promptly investigated the claims of harassment against the chef and in their findings they, "...did not substantiate any claims of sexual harassment." 

The spokesperson said she could not comment any further due to the EEOC investigation. 

“I’m nervous because it reminds be going back to it and it’s just a nightmare that I want to leave behind,” Gomez said.

A museum spokesperson says they have a zero tolerance policy for any harassment. Gomez and her attorney will now wait for the EEOC to finish their investigation.

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