She says a pilot raped her, and now she's afraid of running into him at an airport
Updated 9:31 PM ET, Mon May 14, 2018
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(CNN)Every time Mary Morgan enters an airport, she's on the defensive, trying to avoid the man she says raped her.
She's been a flight attendant for SkyWest Airlines for 14 years; he is a pilot for the airline, and someone she used to call a friend. She loves her job, she said, but for the past year and a half since the alleged incident, she's been filled with constant dread.
She has diligently dodged seeing him, she said -- though she's had a few close calls. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, her home base, she rushes to the flight board to make sure he isn't assigned near her. She knows the types of trips he bids and she avoids flights that use the type of aircraft he flies. If he is assigned nearby, she tries to hide in the airport and avoid common areas, such as crew lounges, until she thinks he's gone.
"It's exhausting, it's time consuming and it's just demoralizing at the same time because you think 'I have to do all of this and my company is doing nothing to help me,'" the 39-year-old told CNN.
Morgan said her case is indicative of a larger problem in the commercial travel industry, one in which sexual harassment from passengers and co-workers is treated as an occupational hazard. She is suing SkyWest, alleging the company is liable for the actions of Capt. Robert L. Rowe, the pilot who she says raped her during a November 2016 stopover.
Rowe did not respond to repeated requests for comment and CNN was unable to identify legal representation for him. Morgan filed a police report, but prosecutors dropped the case, citing insufficient evidence.
"This is an industrywide issue," Morgan said. "It's not just pilots that are rude to flight attendants, it's passengers as well that we deal with constantly, that are making inappropriate comments to flight attendants or touching us inappropriately.
"You just kind of accept it because it comes with the job, but that's still not an appropriate thing."
SkyWest declined to comment on Morgan's allegations or provide CNN with a copy of its sexual harassment policy, citing a policy against discussing personnel matters or pending litigation.
"The safety of all SkyWest employees is our first priority. We hold all employees to the highest standards of conduct and have a zero-tolerance policy for assault or harassment in the workplace," the airline said in a statement to CNN. "We take all allegations very seriously."
Morgan said she is suing because she wants to end the cycle of mistreatment of women working in the airline industry -- and she's not alone. Morgan's lawsuit, filed April 25, came one month after Alaska Airlines First Officer Betty Pina sued the airline over how it responded to her June 2017 report of sexual assault by a male colleague during a stopover.
The women are represented by the same Seattle-based law firm, and their claims are similar: On a layover, after drinks with colleagues, they believe their superiors drugged and raped them. Both lawsuits allege that, given the accused