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Judge Dismisses Suit in Ambulance Corps Harassment Controversy

A man accused of sexual harassment lost his suit against a therapist who reported her findings to the board of the Tarrytown volunteer corps.

A lawsuit brought by a Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps member accused of sexual harassment has been dismissed by a state Supreme Court judge.

The suit was brought in 2012 by Alaric Young against Karen Savage, a local psychotherapist.

The turmoil started in 2011, when women who were either current or former members of the Ambulance Corps accused Young of sexual harassment. In September 2011, the board asked one member to investigate the issue. She, in turn, asked Savage to interview three of the women and write to the board. 

At the heart of the suit was Savage's letter to the board about her findings and conclusions. Judge Francesca Connolly quoted this section of her report in the decision: 

After these conversations [with the three female TVAC members], I am forced to conclude that [the defendant] has been consistently inappropriate with all of them, and with other members of the Ambulance as well. Unwanted touching, invasion of personal space, and refusal to obey suggestions that he reform his behavior are reported by all three. He has shown pictures which were offensive, and taken pictures without permission of women in the corps. It also seems clear that he has a problem with alcohol which need to be addressed by the Ambulance Corps.

I suggest that the Corps draw up and put in place a Sexual Harassment Policy, and also form a committee to address complaints when they are lodged, so that members feel that they are heard when they have a problem. I also suggest that [the defendant] not be reinstated, as he appears to be unable to control his behavior despite repeated reprimands. 

In her decision, Judge Connolly said that Savage's letter was protected.

"Her services were requested by a member of the TVAC Board of Directors who had been delegated the task of investigating the complaints," the judge wrote. "Her statements on this subject to the TVAC Board are entitled to the qualified privilege insofar as the board shared a corresponding duty to address the complaints."

The judge also said Young had not offered proof that Savage had been motivated by malice or deliberately stated falsehoods.

Here are links to some of Patch's earlier reports on the controversy.

March 2012: The turmoil becomes public knowledge. 

April 2012: Young files the lawsuit. 

May 2012: Young is reinstated and the corps adopts the village's sexual harassment policy. 

June 2012: More corps members resign.

Editor's Note: The controversy concerns the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. The wrong group was named in the original version of this report. Patch regrets the error. 

JC95 April 01, 2014 at 12:45 AM
You have two different ambulance corps mentioned in this article when in truth it was only one that had the issue.
Lanning Taliaferro April 01, 2014 at 06:15 AM
JC95: thank you for catching that error. It has been corrected.
ron walsh April 01, 2014 at 09:04 AM
If the Board asked for a investigation and the findings are what is in the above statements why is this member Young still in the membership and how does the Village of Tarrytown allow him to respond to taxpayers homes . He needs to be removed reading the above report before history repeats itself. VERY DISTURBING
ron walsh April 01, 2014 at 09:07 AM
I also suggest that [the defendant] not be reinstated, as he appears to be unable to control his behavior despite repeated reprimands.
ron walsh April 01, 2014 at 09:08 AM
How is he still a member and whats the liability ?

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