Ex-worker at Sparta shooting complex: I lost job after refusing to strip for state officials

News-DemocratJuly 11, 2014 

BND

— A former employee at the state-run World Shooting and Recreational Complex near Sparta alleges her supervisor attempted to force her to perform a strip tease on top of a picnic table last year during a party of uniformed state officials.

Christine Meggs' refusal to strip cost her a job at the complex, she alleges in a complaint filed with two government agencies.

Meggs, 41, who was a stripper for 16 years, has filed complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. Officials with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated and later dismissed the complaint because they were unable to determine whether there were violations of federal laws.

However, Meggs received approval from the EEOC to pursue a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which operates the complex.

The commission's approval is necessary to pursue legal action for violations of the federal Civil Rights Act.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Young said the department will not conduct a separate investigation, given the EEOC's dismissal of the complaint.

Local management at the complex could not be reached for comment.

Meggs, of Marissa, said she was working as a seasonal campground host at the complex when her supervisor insisted she perform a strip tease while at a party last September. The party was attended by about 20 employees of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Meggs said, who were at the complex following the popular Grand American shooting competition.

During the party, Meggs said the supervisor exposed his genitals to her while urinating and forced her to flash her breasts to the crowd of state employees. When he insisted she strip on a picnic table, Meggs said she refused and left the party.

"When I refused to strip, he made it real apparent he was not happy," Meggs said. "He even got up on a picnic table and did a demonstration of what he wanted. He made me feel like if I didn't do it, then I wouldn't be here tomorrow."

Meggs and her boyfriend, Gene Triefenbach of Marissa, who also attended the party, said there was an "extreme amount of drinking" by those at the party, including state conservation police officers.

When Meggs re-applied for the same position in February, the supervisor refused to accept her application.

Meggs and Triefenbach said they were camping at the complex earlier this month when conservation officers evicted them from the complex.

The officers claimed the two committed "disorderly conduct towards IDNR staff" and ordered them to leave the complex within 20 minutes, according to Triefenbach.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.