Employees accused of turning ‘horseplay’ into assault
MONTGMERY – Several employees from Express Energy Services in Clinton Township face charges after their shop horseplay crossed the line.
Two men allegedly held their co-worker down and indecently assaulted him while another employee allegedly sprayed the man with a can of compressed air, according to an affidavit filed at the office of District Judge Jon E. Kemp. Meanwhile their assistant manager allegedly recorded the incident on his cellphone and played it for other employees.
Zachary Todd Cox, 28, of 1011 High Street, West Milton, has been charged with indecent assault, harassment and unlawful restraint.
Frederick Newton Winter, of 1003 Beagle Club Road, Muncy, also has been charged with indecent assault and harassment.
According to Cox, at about noon on Feb. 28, he and several of his co-workers were visiting with his wife and 3 year old child during their lunch break. According to Cox and his wife, Yvonne Cox, the group started teasing fellow employee, Jonathan Bennett.
During the “horseplay”, Bennett allegedly attempted to grab Cox’s groin area. Cox allegedly dodged out of the way and blocked the grab with this own hands.
At about 1:30 p.m., Bennett told police he had just gotten a glass of water, when Cox came out of assistant manager, Nathan McClellan’s office. Cox allegedly grabbed Bennett and dragged him into the office where fellow employees Matthew Reid and Frederick Winter were waiting.
According to Bennett, Cox and Reid wrestled him to the ground, undid his clothing and began touching him inappropriately and mocking him. Meanwhile, Winter allegedly sprayed Bennett’s groin area with an aerosol can of compressed air.
According to court records, McClellan entered his office, drawn by the sound of laughter. He allegedly recorded the incident on his cell phone.
Bennett told police that he repeatedly pleaded with his attackers to leave him alone, but they continued to laugh at him, according to the affidavit.
Employee Shawn Bastian told police on Feb. 29 he heard the sound of laughter coming from McClellan’s office several hours after the alleged incident occurred. Bastian entered to find a group of his fellow employees allegedly watching the video clip on McClellan’s cell phone.
According to police, Reid told Bastian to keep quiet about the video because the people who allegedly participated in the incident may be in “serious trouble.”
On March 3 police reviewed surveillance videos from around the building. Though they were able to see a group of individuals standing around a car, talking and eating lunch at about noon on Feb. 28, they were unable to determine if Bennett attempted to grab Cox, according to court records.
However, surveillance cameras inside the building did capture Bennett getting a glass of water, then being grabbed by another man and pulled into McClellan’s office.
Cox and Winter will face arraignments before Kemp at 3:15 p.m. June 29.