EAST WENATCHEE — The board president of the Cashmere Valley Museum and Pioneer Village defended Cashmere City Council candidate John W. Bryant against allegations of sexual harassment, writing a letter that calls Bryant’s female accusers “little sows.”
Dean Rainey sent a letter Thursday to the Wenatchee World reporter who wrote an Oct. 14 article about a pending sexual harassment lawsuit against Bryant, and about his multiple past convictions for domestic violence.
“Perhaps you could do a front page article on those little sows you mentioned in the article,” Rainey wrote. “Mention all the money they stole from John, showing up only have (sic) the time, drunk, no drives (sic) licence, jail time & bail outs.”
A female former employee of Bryant’s catering company, JASCO/Cascade Catering, says in a lawsuit he made unwanted sexual advances while she was on the job, and paid her less because of her gender. Bryant pleaded guilty or was convicted of fourth-degree assault against his then-wife three times between 1994 and 1996, and pleaded guilty to similar crimes against women in 2001 and 2007.
Rainey, 62, an East Wenatchee signmaker, has been affiliated with the Cashmere museum since 2000 and currently serves as board president. Bryant, 45, until last week the sole candidate for City Council Position 5, is a former museum boardmember. Dave Erickson, a Cashmere resident and director of Wenatchee’s city parks, declared himself a write-in candidate for the seat Oct. 24.
Reached by phone Monday, Rainey confirmed writing the letter and said Bryant has been a longtime supporter and friend of the museum, which operates the Pioneer Village tourism site on its grounds.
“John has backed us 100 percent for a lot of years and has spent a lot of his own time and donations to the museum, and actually, I gotta tell you, I’m going to back John 100 percent when it comes to something like this,” Rainey said.
Rainey said Bryant’s business has been affected by untrustworthy employees who’ve failed to show up for work at times. Rainey said he himself had to serve food and remove garbage at a museum function catered by Bryant’s business after some Cascade Catering staffers didn’t appear.
“The only thing John is really guilty of is hiring a bunch of scumbags to work with him,” Rainey said of Bryant’s employees.
The former catering worker suing Bryant, Kayla Troglia, has no criminal charges on record in Washington. Bryant filed a response to Troglia’s lawsuit Wednesday, denying her claims of sexual harassment and unequal pay on the basis of gender.
Rainey at first wouldn’t comment on his characterization of Bryant’s female staffers as “little sows.” Asked repeatedly about the phrase, he said, “What do you want me to call them? I’m just not getting what you’re talking about.”
Besides the lawsuit, Bryant has been convicted or pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault on his then-wife twice in 1994, once in 1996 and once in 1997; pleaded guilty to violating a protective order taken out by his second wife in 2001; and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a domestic violence case in 2007. In 2003 a former girlfriend sought a protective order on allegations that Bryant stalked and intimidated her; the order wasn’t granted.
“It doesn’t sound like there was any fists thrown or anything like that, by the sounds of things” Rainey said of the abuse. “I’ve never heard of him beating up anybody.”
The Wenatchee World went “way, way, way overboard” in reporting the story, Rainey said.
“The thing I liked about the article the best is when John said he takes full responsibility,” he said. “That’s at least being a man about it. End of story.”
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123