Hotelier Accused of Sexual Harassment

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 13:10



A Saskatoon motel owner faced the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal yesterday for the second time in a year.


John Pontes was facing a complaint of sexual harassment from an incident that happened two years ago at his motel.


The complainant, Crystal Laliberte, alleges he offered a summer job, but when she went to his office, he rubbed her hand, told her she was sexy, and old enough to “know what to do.”


Pontes called Laliberte a liar, and made frequent outbursts when witnesses were testifying or the chair or commission’s lawyer was speaking.


Janice Gingell, the commission’s lawyer, says Pontes’ behaviour made it difficult for the hearing to proceed. She said that despite Pontes’ “disrespectful” attitude, the case must be proved and thus witnesses must still testify.


In an earlier case this past winter, Pontes was found guilty of discrimination.


One woman who testified yesterday has also filed a complaint against him, but it hasn’t been investigated yet.


Laliberte is asking for $2,000.


The tribunal chair is also considering awarding the commission money from Pontes for what he calls his lack of respect for witnesses, the chair, the lawyer, and the process.


The chair has reserved his decision.