KENLY – The Town of Kenly and former town manager Michael Douglas have been named in a civil lawsuit by a woman who claims Douglas grabbed her breast and tried to have sex with her. He was arrested in June 2020 on a misdemeanor sexual battery charge stemming from the same incident.
A civil complaint has now been filed against Douglas, age 50, of Raleigh, and the Town of Kenly involving the alleged August 15, 2019 incident at the victim’s home in Kenly. Mr. Douglas was hired as the Kenly town manager in 2018.
According to the lawsuit, Douglas went to the woman’s home in 2019 “uninvited and unannounced” saying he needed to speak with her about an “urgent town business manner.” The victim’s sister was visiting at the time and the victim was in the shower when he allegedly arrived. The victim told Douglas, through her sister, that she was unable to speak with him and he would need to wait or return later. Douglas reportedly asked to wait and was allowed in the house.
Douglas, the lawsuit alleges, did not sit down and wait, instead he walked to the bathroom door and told the woman to “hurry up” because he needed to speak with her about an urgent matter.
The woman said she put on a bathrobe and met Douglas in the living room. Douglas briefly told her about a potential job availability, but then grabbed her against her will, calling out to her sister asking, “Why won’t your sister let me hit it?”, the lawsuit claims.
The woman demanded Douglas release her and leave and began to usher him to the door. As they approached the door, Douglas turned and again grabbed the woman, specifically grabbing her breast, saying, “I am going to hit that” the civil complaint alleges. The woman said she was able to escape from his grasp and remove him from the home, locking the door after he left.
The civil complaint alleges the woman contacted the Kenly Police Department to file a report but was prevented from doing so by the police chief, who informed her she should just move on from the incident. On September 17, 2019, Lt. Casey Jones with the Kenly Police Department contacted the woman in an attempt to help her file a police report.
The lawsuit claims Lt. Jones was prevented from filing the report by the police chief. On September 19, 2019, the woman said she notified the Kenly Town Council about the incident but they ignored her allegations and allowed Douglas to remain in his role as town manager..
An investigator with the Johnston County District Attorney’s Office investigated the incident before presenting the findings to a Johnston County Grand Jury. On June 5, 2020, Douglas was indicted by the Grand Jury on a misdemeanor sexual assault and battery charge. Douglas is still awaiting trial.
After the criminal indictment was made public and Douglas was formally charged, the Kenly Town Council did not renew Douglas’ contract and he left his employment with the town on July 1, 2020.
According to the civil lawsuit, Douglas served in the armed forces from 1999 to 2013 and was court-martialed in 2013 based on two charges of sexual assault that occurred in 2012. One of the alleged incidents involved Douglas rubbing his genitalia on the buttocks of a female soldier at Fort Bragg. He was found not guilty.
The lawsuit said there was a second incident in which Douglas was accused of offering a female soldier “wet quarters”, which are living quarters with running water, in exchange for sex. He was found guilty of maltreatment of a soldier in connection with the charge.
Lawyers for the woman claim the Town of Kenly hired Douglas as town manager without conducting a full background check, which would have led them to the discover the charges and guilty verdict in his 2013 court martial.
The lawsuit claims the victim suffered significant mental and emotional trauma which required medical treatment and continues to endure pain and suffering, mental anguish and severe emotional distress and has occurred significant medical and other expenses for treatment. The complaint alleges Douglas intentionally caused the bodily contact which would offend a reasonable person’s sense of personal dignity.
The complaint seeks a jury trial and damages in excess of $25,000. The victim in the case no longer lives in Kenly. She is being represented by the Lanier Law Firm.
The Town of Kenly and Mr. Douglas are being represented by The Hartzog Law Group from Raleigh. Johnston County Report reached out to the law firm for a comment but they did not responded to our request for a comment.