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Update: Politico’s People Call Sex Claims “Extortion”

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — from – The Cleveland woman who last week filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Brecksville auto dealer Tom Ganley [pictured] filed an amended complaint today which claims the GOP congressional candidate wouldn’t give her a job because she refused his sexual advances.

The amended complaint, filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court, seeks compensatory damages in excess of $25,000 for sexual harassment, employment discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium. The new charges all have statutes of limitations of four to six years after the alleged incident in August 2009.

“Defendant’s conduct was so extreme and outrageous as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and was such that it can be considered as utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” says the the lawsuit assigned to Judge R. Patrick Kelly.

Attorneys for Ganley have said the woman is trying to extort money from their wealthy client and damage his chance to win a congressional election against Copley Township Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton.

Ganley’s campaign has released a statement that calls the charges “totally false and aimed to tar the image and character of Mr. Ganley at a crucial point in his campaign for Congress.”

“Tom has always believed strongly in our American judicial system and, as many of you know, has assisted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in various high profile criminal prosecutions,” the statement says. “It is unfortunate that he has to defend himself against these false allegations in the middle of a hotly contested campaign, but defend himself he will.”

This afternoon, Ganley released the following statement through his campaign spokeswoman:

“When the threats of this lawsuit surfaced, I immediately went to to the FBI. I deny every allegation made in this baseless lawsuit. I did not back down to the Cleveland mafia when they targeted me, my family and my business and I will not back down to an effort to manipulate me again for a pay day. I will not allow this lawsuit to distract from the issues wtihin my campaign for Congress, as I’ve done nothing wrong.”

The 39-year-old mother of four claims she met Ganley at a July 2009 Tea Party rally in downtown Cleveland, admired his anti-abortion political views and sought to volunteer for a U.S. Senate campaign he was waging before he decided to run against Sutton. She also asked him about lowering the interest rate on a Chevrolet Venture van she’d bought from his dealership.

The lawsuit says that when she brought the van in for repairs and went to Ganley’s office to discuss a job he offered her, Ganley made unwanted sexual advances.

“He told her he would fix her car for free, provide her with a paying job, and reduce the interest rate on the financing of her Chevy Van in return for her acting basically as a prostitute and becoming sexually submissive to him,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff was greatly offended and was in fear of the deranged Defendant Ganley at that time, and was trapped in his office while her van was being repaired.”

The latest legal papers repeat claims that Ganley gave the woman a $100 bill and told her to buy high heels, a thong and some lingerie “so she could sexually play along with him and his friends,” and that he told her “he wanted her to be ‘submissive’ to him, and that he wanted to ‘dominate’ her and parade her around on a leash while his other ‘play’ friends watched.”

The lawsuit says Ganley didn’t hire her because she refused “to comply with these implied perverted sexual conditions of employment,” and that he continued to harass her afterward, calling her at home on at least seven occasions in July 2010, in an attempt to “intimidate her, despite the fact that he was represented by attorneys regarding this matter at that time.”

The woman’s attorney, Edward J. Heben, says his client filed a police report about the incident last week, and that she hadn’t done so previously because she was afraid of Ganley and initially hoped to resolve the case without publicity. He also said his client has been upset by efforts to assassinate her character and link her with Sutton’s campaign.

Heben said his client is an ardent abortion opponent who volunteered for the 2008 GOP congressional campaign of Jim Trakas, a former Cuyahoga County Republican Party chairman who ran against Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Heben himself is a past president of Cleveland Right to Life’s board of trustees and his son, Jon, was the Republican Party’s 2002 candidate against Kucinich.

“One of the reasons my client and I delayed the suit and wanted to go into mediation is that we didn’t want to help a pro-choice candidate like Betty Sutton,” said Heben. “Finally, when the mediation was unsuccessful, we believed it was a moral obligation to bring these allegations to the public so they could make a proper choice for Congress.”


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