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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Dec. 7, 2023

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EEOC complaint targets Carson Hot Springs owner

He’s accused of sexual harassment of resorts’ female employees

By , Columbian Business Editor

The owner of Bonneville Hot Springs Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort LLC subjected female employees to lewd sexual comments, sexual propositions, sexual innuendos and remarks about their clothing and bodies, according to a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.

The owner, Perfil “Pete” Cam, “subjected female employees to unwanted touching such as kissing, hugs, rubbing of their arms and hands, pressing up against and/or touching their breasts,” says the complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

“Cam grabbed female employees’ hands, arms, and/or wrists and did not let go,” the complaint says, “forcing the female employees to pull away from him. Cam also pressed his erect penis up against a female employee. Cam caressed and pulled the hair of female employees.”

Cam could not be reached on Tuesday. However, Carson Hot Springs housekeeping manager Katarina Molodih, said in a phone interview, “It’s not true. Pete’s a nice guy. He’s just a good guy. I don’t believe it. I’ve worked here for more than two years and I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The complaint also says Cam asked female employees to come to areas of the resorts that were not covered by the resorts’ video surveillance cameras, adding, “Cam trapped female employees in a room or secluded areas of the resort.”

While the complaint was filed on behalf of all female hot springs resort employees, it specifies the experience of one, Holly Nelson.

Nelson is a former Bonneville Hot Springs Resort massage therapist who filed a lawsuit in January in Skamania County Circuit Court making allegations similar to those contained in the EEOC complaint.

Nelson left her job at Bonneville as a massage therapist in early 2016 because of Cam’s alleged harassment, says the lawsuit, which also accuses General Manager Marfa Scheratski of not stopping the alleged behavior.

Cam and Scheratski co-owned Bonneville Hot Springs Resort Inc. and Carson Hot Springs Resort LLC, Nelson’s lawsuit says. Bonneville Hot Springs was sold in fall 2016. Both resorts are in Skamania County.

The EEOC complaint says Nelson and other female employees reported Cam’s alleged conduct to resort supervisors and managers, but the behavior continued.

Because the behavior continued, the complaint says, Nelson felt forced to resign.

The complaint seeks a jury trial and a verdict that would force the resort to enforce policies “which provide equal employment opportunities for all employees.”

It also asks that Nelson and other affected women be awarded court-ordered money to compensate for “emotional pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life,” as well as back pay, with interest.

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Columbian Business Editor