MORRISON, Colo. — Two former Red Rocks Country Club managers allege the club has had knowledge of years-worth of complaints about a lack of safety for staff.
Denver7 Investigates last month shared the stories of seven other women who resigned from the club after a bar employee said she was sexually touched by a member without her consent.
“How dare she. How dare I what? Speak the truth?,” said Christina Wabschall, ex-food and beverage director for Red Rocks Country Club. She worked there for two years until she says concerns forced her to leave her job.
“I truly don't know how to put their culture in words besides toxic. It was a toxic environment,” Wabschall said. “I've seen gentlemen accosting the staff, sexually harassing them, touching them. Just absolutely crazy there. It just is.”
Denver7 Investigates asked Wabschall how she thinks the club will react to her accusations.
“I think they're going to be pissed. They're going to be furious,” she said. “Clearly there is something wrong and there is nothing being done about it.”
Denver7 | Investigates
7 Red Rocks Country Club employees quit following claims of an unsafe culture
Wabschall is not the only former employee calling for change.
Stephane Doody served as head of housekeeping for 16 years until she was fired following an unrelated workman's compensation claim. She too reached out to Denver7 Investigates, sharing what she witnessed during her time there.
“There are things happening at that place that should never be happening, and it needs to change," Doody said. "I have said to many people many times: The club needs to be cleaned out from management down and the board."
Denver7 Investigates asked the two former managers about their thoughts regarding the walk-out.
“Thank god, that's what I say. Thank god that somebody in that club finally has the gumption to stand up and say, ‘You don't do this. You don't do this to women. You don't do this to people. You don't do this,'” Doody said.
“You're strong, you're absolutely strong. And you're powerful. And this is not who you are. You are not a piece of meat,” said Wabschall. “You're a person, and you don't deserve to be treated that way.”
A bar employee filed a report with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in July, resulting in a criminal complaint against a club member. The report lays out a detailed narrative, explaining an alleged interaction between a 53-year-old member and the 18-year-old employee after the opening round of the club’s prestigious member-guest tournament. The incident was captured by one of the club’s security cameras, according to the report.
Based on that video and statements from the alleged victim, the sheriff's office issued the member a misdemeanor citation for alleged unlawful sexual contact.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Jenny Fulton reviewed all information related to the investigation.
“This is unlawful. It's illegal. And no owner should allow illegal activities to occur at their business,” she said. “I was infuriated. It's a violation of someone's personal body, and there's no consent.”
Fulton also watched the video.
“I saw exactly what is described in the report where the server is clearing off the table. She's wiping it down. The suspect comes around. He puts her into a hug that she appears to be reluctant to participate in. He walks around behind her, still with his hands on her shoulder. He pushes up against her back and lowers his hand and rubs her buttocks,” Fulton said.
According to the report, the member told the detective, "He had been drinking heavily that night and had no recollection of the events which occurred."
After Denver7 Investigates aired a report detailing the alleged incident, the Red Rocks Country Club Board of Directors sent out an internal announcement which read in part, "Although the story alleges that harassment is tolerated at RRCC, the Board of Directors assures its members and employees that this is absolutely not the case and has never been the case."
“They absolutely tolerate it. And it happens all the time,” said Wabschall, reacting to the club’s announcement.
“Yeah, they're lying. There is no way to sugarcoat it. That is a lie. They have had these issues before. This is ridiculous for them to say this has not happened,” Doody said.
Wabschall and Doody both cited multiple alleged examples of the unsafe culture they say has existed for years, including one incident from more than a year ago. The former food and beverage director said the documented interaction happened between a male club member and a female employee.
“A gentleman had assaulted a woman with his words. He told her, ‘Get in my golf cart or else. Come out with me and do X, Y and Z,'” Wabschall recounted. “‘Come out in the field and suck my….'”
Wabschall said when she worked at Red Rocks, she alerted senior leaders at the country club about members crossing the line on multiple occasions but was not taken seriously.
“I had mentioned to the board of directors that things like this can't continue to be swept under the rug. And because of that, I was forced to talk to HR, and I was told, ‘You can't say things like that. We could get subpoenaed,'” Wabschall said. “They like things the way they are there. They like it being basically a frat house.”
Despite Red Rocks Country Club leaders claiming harassment is and has never been tolerated, the two former employees hope their words will change the culture for the better.
“If they're smart, someone at that club needs to have the integrity to say, ‘Hey we need to clean house. And we need to get some people in here who care about this country club.’ It is a beautiful, beautiful place. A beautiful club,” Doody said.
Red Rocks Country Club leadership declined multiple interview requests by Denver7, citing a club policy not to do on-camera interviews. The club instead provided a written statement that read, “Red Rocks Country Club is dedicated to providing a safe and productive work environment, free of threats to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our employees. We uphold a zero-tolerance policy for the beratement or harassment of our staff by fully investigating every complaint that is brought to management. As a follow-up to the recent claims of alleged sexual harassment made by some of our staff members, we reiterate that the Board of Directors dealt with these claims swiftly and decisively. This was the conduct of a few individuals and is not reflective of our culture as a club.”
The country club member accused of unlawful sexual touching will have his first court appearance next month.
A GoFundMe fundraiser created by a female member of the club has raised more than $9,000 for the seven employees who walked out last month.