Civil action filed against Holter

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — A civil lawsuit has been filed by one of the victims in the criminal case against Edward Holter.

The action, filed in Meigs County Common Pleas Court, asks for monetary damages from Holter, as well as Holter Holstien Farms, where the victim was employed at the time of the allegations.

Holter, 56, of Pomeroy, pleaded guilty in early March to three counts of gross sexual imposition, each a fourth-degree felony, as charged in a bill of information filed by Angela Canepa of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office who is serving as a special prosecutor in the case.

The complaint filed in the civil action on March 30 by Attorney Sky Pettey of Athens details the allegations committed by Holter against the female victim who was under 18 at the time of the offense.

The complaint outlines three claims for relief against Holter: 1. Childhood sexual abuse/civil assault and battery; 2. Sexual harassment under Ohio Revised Code 4112.02; 3. Intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The plaintiff alleges that on Feb. 5, 2012, she had “unlawful non-consensual sexual contact” with the plaintiff by force or threat of force. At that time, the plaintiff was employed by Holter on the dairy farm, with Holter having “temporary or occasional disciplinary control” over the plaintiff. The complaint goes on to state that the plaintiff was touched by the defendant on more than one occasion.

Holter is alleged to have “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive harassment, including but not limited to grabbing plaintiff’s underwear and pulling it up to give her ‘wedgies,’ making her sit on his lap and then rubbing her legs, making inappropriate statements to her like ‘why do you always wear spandex under your pants’ and committing a felony crime of gross sexual imposition against her by having non-consensual sexual contact with her by force or threat of force,” according to the civil complaint.

In the nine months the plaintiff was employed by Holter, she alleges to have witnessed frequent and pervasive sexual harassment of female co-workers who were also under the age of 18. Those alleged acts include “hosing down other female employees, spanking them on their behinds, making various sexual comments to them, hugging them from behind, making lewd facial gestures and raising his eyebrows while looking at them, and making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature about what they were wearing.”

Many of the details alleged in the civil complaint were similar to the details given by Canepa during the plea hearing in March.

Under each claim, the plaintiff is asking for compensatory damages in an amount exceeding $25,000, punitive damages in an amount exceeding $25,000 and a judgement against all defendants in an amount exceeding $25,000, as well as any other relief deemed fair, just and equitable.

Holter is scheduled to be sentenced in Meigs County Common Pleas Court on April 25.

Editor’s Note: The Daily Sentinel does not identify the victim of a crime and is therefore not identifying the plaintiff in this civil action.

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.