Main Line Woman Says She Was Sexually Harassed at Merion Cricket Club
She claims a manager told her "it isn't harassment if he likes you."
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Main Line Woman Says a Merion Cricket Club Manager Sexually Harassed Her
The Merion Cricket Club is a gated private social club along Montgomery Avenue in the Haverford section of the Main Line. There, the well-heeled and impeccably coiffed go to mix, mingle and play tennis. The club has been around in one form or another since 1865 and describes itself as “family oriented.” But according to one Main Line woman’s allegations, what was going on behind the scenes at Merion Cricket Club wasn’t exactly family-friendly.
Twenty-four-year-old Wynnewood resident Maura Owens began working as a server at Merion Cricket Club’s restaurant in 2018. According to a lawsuit Owens just filed in Philadelphia’s federal court, a man named Kyle Ross became her direct supervisor in June 2019 when he was named assistant food and beverage manager of Merion Cricket Club. Owens alleges that immediately after Ross took on that role, he told her he was physically attracted to her. She says she told him she wasn’t interested but that he persisted and made repeated unwanted sexual advances.
According to the allegations in her suit, Ross frequently told Owens that he was sexually aroused and once specifically said that he had an erection. She goes on to allege that Ross once tried to touch her breasts through her shirt and that she had to push his hand away. She says he continued his harassment and that her refusals led to more sexual harassment, “hostile behavior,” and threats to her job for close to two years.
Owens says that after she complained to another woman who worked there about Ross, Ross came to her and screamed at her. Later, in July 2021, Owens complained to management about Ross, and according to the suit, the manager told her that he’d have a follow-up meeting with her in one week. Ross says the manager in question did nothing to separate her from Ross in the interim.
When the week was up, Owens claims, the manager she reported Ross to told her that Ross hadn’t harassed her, allegedly explaining that “it isn’t harassment if he likes you.” After that conversation, Owens says, she felt “unsafe and unprotected,” and she resigned as a result of the workplace environment. She adds that another unnamed woman did the same.
The lawsuit accuses Merion Cricket Club of sexual harassment and retaliation and seeks unspecified damages. Despite multiple attempts, we were unable to reach Merion Cricket Club or Ross for comment.
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RIP, Peter Nero
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And in Manage-This Sports News …
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Rob Thomson will be managing the National League team in tonight’s All-Star game, with the first pitch slated for 8 p.m. Two Phillies will take the field — right fielder Nick Castellanos and pitcher Craig Kimbrel. You know what to do, guys. And in more local-lad-makes-good news, there’s this.
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All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.