Reinstated, though not returned to active duty, Alaric Young is eager to get back to work and help bolster what he said used to be the county's greatest ambulance corps.
Young, who was after allegations of sexual harassment from several women, was by the board after a committee reviewed the issue.
“I do feel it is resolved,” said Young. “The decision of the grievance committee was agreed by the board that this would be the final decision.” He said the nine claims made against him were “hearsay, innuendo...by persons not willing to face me.”
The saga has been a “witch hunt driven by a vendetta,” Young said, describing himself as a “warm, open and outgoing person. I've been that same person for 17 years and there wasn't a problem with it."
“I do not sexually harass anybody,” Young said. “I don't touch people who don't want to be touched. I don't say things to people who don't want to hear them. Some things may have been misinterpreted. I'm not vulgar like that. I'm friendly."
One of the TVAC members opposed to Young's continued membership, former corps officer Murat Turk, predicted many members will take leaves of absence “to protest his reinstatement.”
One board member, Jonathan Gliet, has resigned following the grievance committee hearing. Gliet would not comment on the reason.
Young and his lawyer Stephen R. Lewis assert that some people who have already left the corps did so in his support.
Young provided Patch with a copy of a letter written, he said, “unsolicited in response to an e-mail circulated by an interested member” by Melissa McDonald, ambulance driver in 2004-05.
In the letter, McDonald wrote,
I am writing to you today as one of the many women in TVAC's history that has had the privilege and joy of volunteering with Alaric. I want it also to be known that I am one of the many, many woman at TVAC that has had no complaint whatsoever with Alaric. And as long as negative stories are finally being heard after 7 months or so , I feel it is only right that commendations should be heard as well, and this is mine: Alaric is an amazing human being, I would entrust him with everything that is important to me. He is a great TVAC volunteer, mentor, Crew Chief, Captain, Night Lieutenant and friend to many.
In the letter McDonald also stated that when one hears the allegations from various women there is always a common denominator and “it's not Young.” She posited that someone was behind the scene “goading and persuading” people into this “character assassination.”
While not named by McDonald, Turk admitted he had became something a “sponge” attracting women's stories and said that his commitment to help them was relentless. The victims felt safe, he said, approaching him with their stories after it became known in the corps that one woman had already confided to him.
“I promised every one of those ladies that I will not give up on this,” Turk said. “It's not about winning or losing, it's not a game of them versus us, it's about doing the right thing. What happened to these ladies wasn't right. They leave their families in the middle of the night to come help people and they got victimized."
The grievance committee of six, said Young, was “unanimous in their recommendation" that the Board reinstate him, including two people who, he said, were among the seven who originally voted against him.
The grievance committee, specially formed at Young’s request, held a hearing in which Young and his lawyer spoke. One of the complainants and her lawyer were present but the lawyer was asked to leave. The complainant, who did not wish to be named in this article, said once her lawyer left she did not feel comfortable talking.
The grievance committee, Young said, was not the complainants' forum but his. The woman's lawyer was not allowed to stay because it was, by the bylaws, for “members only” save for his advisor.
Young said he had not been allowed to attend the original hearing when the allegations first aired. He said he has since asked to read them but they haven't been released by the women. He also said he has expressed interest in meeting and talking with these women “face to face. I have not had that opportunity.”
Young said he was eager to air his own grievances in the proper TVAC channels.
“The court of public opinion is not the place to fight out anything; it would not serve me,” he said of his public silence. Instead, he had “the proper venue in the Board Room in front of the Board, the committee, the membership.”
During this meeting, said Young, he and his lawyer “presented the more onerous allegations” and then provided documents, witnesses and affidavits to refute them. Young said the most onerous among them was the allegation that he flirted with and exposed the breast of a patient. “We proved that didn't happen,” he said.
Young said that the Board that ultimately voted on this recommendation was “depleted.” How many board members voted is not public record. Membership was already down from 13 to 11. Then Gliet resigned before this vote.
“I want the ambulance corps and myself to go back to normal. Now the corps is very short-handed. I've felt bad in the past nine to 10 months that I've not been able to help with that," Young said. "It's been a very long and difficult time for me, for my family, and for the ambulance corps. I'm eager to put this to bed.”
Turk is one who won't drop it. He said he has spent the last year and a half feeling helpless and suffering from borderline depression. “How is it possible,” he asks, “That I got nine, many of them accomplished professional women who don't even know each other, that I got them to fabricate everything? I would have to be a cult leader.
Turk is already on leave until the end of Mike Farley's term as Captain. He said it was due to actions Farley took, which he described as “retaliation” in the wake of numerous sexual harassment allegations that were made against Young.
“However I will extend the leave of absence with several female members until Alaric's termination,” Turk said, adding that he expected other members of the corps to resign soon.
“The last straw is legal action,” Turk said. “I think we just have to take them to court.” He said he would donate any damages won from the proceedings to women's shelters or similar charities.
Legal action is already under way: Young has who wrote a letter to the TVAC board after talking to several of the women who accused Young of sexual harassment.
Though Farley would not discuss the situation, saying he feared being reduced to “soundbites,” he provided Patch with a copy of a resignation letter to the Board from Regis Leroy Blodgett, dated December 6, 2011, saying he was turning in his beeper and his coat because Young had not yet been reinstated.
“The only way I will ride [in an ambulance] is with Alaric Young and it seems this will never happen,” Blodgett said in the letter. “My sympathies to those still riding. This board has done a considerable amount of damage to their moral. I am just another casualty.”
Blodgett went on to say he would be serving again as EMT for another community in another state.