COLUMBUS, Ohio — Newly-obtained records detail how Cedar Point’s own police department initially investigated a number of sexual assaults or rapes involving its employees.
Combined with the reports filed with the Sandusky Police Department, which took over the investigations in many cases, it brings the total to at least 40 complaints between 2017 and 2022.
In nearly every case, female employees alleged that they were groped, sexually assaulted or raped by male co-workers. The employees we interviewed detailed a party culture that was pervasive inside the employee dorms. Alcohol and drug use weren’t uncommon.
Some of the women say they were discouraged by managers from going forward with their complaints – an allegation the park has denied.
The newly-released records were obtained by WBNS-TV’s investigative unit, 10 Investigates, and our sister stations – WTOL in Toledo and WKYC in Cleveland - and were turned over only after the television stations file a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court seeking the records.
As part of our reporting, 10 Investigates, WTOL and WKYC have interviewed nearly a dozen employees, reviewed lawsuits, police reports and spoken with rape crisis counselors and academics who study sexual assault.
“After a couple of months, you get used to the culture which is not only partying – there’s drugs. And sexual assault there was not that uncommon,” said one former Cedar Point employee, who asked 10 Investigates to withhold her identity.
The former employee, who we are not naming, told 10 Investigates said she too experienced unwanted sexual advances by a co-worker in 2014. She believes she may have been drugged but did not report the incident and left her job with the park because she says she felt unsafe.
“It’s not just an isolated incident. This is a systemic cultural problem at that workplace,” she said.
The women who have come forward – many of whom worked inside the park doing ride operations or food service – say the trauma they endured while working for Cedar Point and being victims of sexual harassment or sexual assaults sticks with them.
Erin McKay says she is still haunted by what she says happened to her.
Erin alleges that as an underage employee of Cedar Point she was raped inside one of the dorms by a male colleague in 2017. The person was never charged because she didn’t report it to police.
"I physically resisted and it wasn’t until he realized I was crying that he realized he messed up,” McKay told 10 Investigates.
Erin says she did not report the rape to Cedar Point management until two years later. Erin says a friend’s sexual assault experience that led to no criminal charges dissuaded her from going to police.
But she says she did report two other groping incidents to her Cedar Point managers. While Erin says one of the men involved in one of the groping incidents was fired, she alleges that her manager discouraged her from filing a police report.
“I was like ‘is this something I should do?’ Because I was like 16 or 17 and this man was like 35 groping me in the closest. And he said ‘do you really think your parents would let you work here?’ Because I was just in love with the job. And he was like - you shouldn’t do this because you wouldn’t be able to work here anymore.”
In a previous statement provided in June to 10 Investigates, a park spokesman wrote:
“While we do not comment on specific personnel matters as we protect the privacy of our associates, we feel it is important to reiterate that every associate who feels unsafe in any way is welcome, without exception, to discuss with management. In no way are any associates discouraged from escalating any situation that may make them feel uncomfortable.”
We reached out to Cedar Point late this afternoon for comment. We will let you know when we hear back.