Sexual harassment is all over the news these days. And Greensboro has had some sexual harassment that has a lot of the aspects of the national stories, with one woman coming forward, followed by another and another, until you have a room full.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, a former employee of the News & Record, Kelly Marcel Young of McLeansville, pled no contest to one count of indecent exposure.
Another former News & Record employee, Gayla Price, had brought the charges against Young in April after he had been fired by the News & Record. Price left the N&R in May.
As in many of these sexual harassment stories, Price never reported Kelly to her superiors and didn’t file a criminal complaint until after Young had been terminated by the News & Record.
Price said she is not at all satisfied with the way the N&R handled the matter, but then she never reported the incidents to anyone at the paper.
What happened when Price brought charges is that other women came forward saying that they had had similar experiences. It now appears the number of women that Young exposed himself to in the office was at least five, and maybe as high as seven.
News & Record Publisher and Editor Daniel Finnegan, in a prepared statement, said, “After Mr. Young was fired, several other employees came forward to say they had experienced similar incidents. One of them dated to 2014 and was not properly documented by an HR representative, who left our company in 2015. This lack of documentation left management unaware of the 2014 incident until after Mr. Young was terminated.”
So in 2014, somebody dropped the ball. But Finnegan states, “After a complaint was made in November 2016 that Mr. Young’s pants were unzipped and his penis was exposed while talking to a female employee, we conducted an investigation but could not determine whether the incident was intentional.
“We met with Mr. Young on Jan. 3 to warn him that he would be fired if we received any other complaints.”
The second complaint came in March 2017 and Young was terminated several days later. Finnegan said he remembers discussing calling the police to report the incidents but that for whatever reason it wasn’t done.
In April, Price filed a criminal complaint for two counts of indecent exposure. According to the police report, Price’s description of what occurred leaves little doubt that it was intentional.
In an email Price states, “The criminal case accused, the male N&R employee, Kelly Marcel Young, of walking up behind me while I was seated at my desk and when I turned around, he removed a folder covering his groin area and exposed his penis out of his zipper area. Due to my seated position and his standing position, his penis was less than a foot from my face. As I turned back around, Mr. Young continued to stand behind me, trapping me between him and my desk.”
Another N&R employee told police that Young had similarly exposed himself to her when they were the only two in the building. She said he had exposed himself to her on four separate occasions over a period of several months.
In court, along with Price, two other female N&R employees appeared to offer testimony.
When asked why she didn’t report the incidents to the human resources department, Price said, “I thought it was me and I felt like no one would help me.”
She said that she didn’t think she would be believed, but when Young was fired she thought it was because some other woman had complained about a similar incident so she would have someone to back up her story.
Price also said, “The police should have been called.” She said that she didn’t think it was fair that she had to take it on herself to file a criminal complaint against Young. She said that until the court date she thought there were three victims and it was only in court that she discovered there were at least five.
When the N&R was notified that the case against Young would be heard in court on Dec. 13, they notified the other victims that they knew about to give them the opportunity to go to court and two did.
Price said that one of the reasons she resigned was that she found work so stressful when Young was there, never knowing if he would expose himself to her again. And after he was arrested she said some of her fellow employees blamed her. By all accounts Young was a popular employee who reportedly sometimes led prayer meetings at the N&R.
Young received a 45 day suspended sentence from District Court Judge Mark Cummings, who also ordered Young to complete six months of counseling for treatment of sexual deviant behavior. Young was also ordered to appear in court in six months after he had completed the counseling sessions. Further, he was ordered not to have any contact with Price or any other woman who made allegations against him.