AG sues Wenatchee veteran’s nonprofit, CEO for sexual harassment

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson has filed a lawsuit against a Wenatchee veterans non-profit for sexual harassment and discrimination. 

The lawsuit says Thelbert Lawson Jr, founder and CEO of Operation Veterans Assistance and Humanitarian Aid (OVAHA), sexually harassed at least 12 women who worked at or visited the nonprofit’s two thrift stores. 

According to the lawsuit, Lawson Jr subjected thrift store employees to pervasive, ongoing sexual harassment, including offensive and unwanted touching, sexually charged remarks and inappropriate requests. 

Lawson is accused of retaliating against an employee when she reached out to a lawyer. The lawsuit claims he demoted her, watched her on store cameras and isolated her from other employees. 

Ferguson said Lawson also harassed at least two members of the public at one of the thrift stores. In July 2021, a jury found him guilty of assault for one of the incidents. OVAHA posted his bond, which has allowed him to stay out of jail after his conviction. 

 “My team will use all the tools we have to stop workplace harassment and discrimination,” Ferguson said. “Everyone deserves a safe work environment free from abuse.”

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