ROCKLAND, Maine — A local woman has filed a lawsuit against the former operator of the region’s homeless shelter, claiming he offered her housing in exchange for sex.
The lawsuit against Gordon Mank Jr. and Mid-Coast Hospitality House Inc. was filed Friday in Knox County Unified Court. The Bangor Daily News is not identifying the plaintiff because she is an alleged victim of sexual assault.
The woman said she and her four children were homeless in October 2010 when she contacted Hospitality House in hopes of getting temporary housing. She said Mank, who ran the shelter, said the Hospitality House was full but that he could make room for her.
They arranged to meet in Warren to fill out paperwork, according to the lawsuit, at which time she says a sexual encounter occurred. This was the first in a series of encounters in which Mank would contact her, bring her gifts and promise to help her through different housing and assistance programs in exchange for having sex with him, her suit states.
Finally, her suit claims, she agreed to meet with him at a motel in Belfast in December 2010 for an encounter. She says she asked him about program paperwork he promised to bring to her, her suit claims, and when he said he did not have it, she began crying and screaming and demanded he leave, which he did.
The woman claims she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of his actions and is receiving psychological treatment.
A telephone message was left with Mank on Tuesday afternoon but was not returned.
The woman is represented by Portland attorney Sarah Churchill. Churchill said the Hospitality House is named as a defendant because Mank was its executive director at the time.
The homeless shelter operated by Mank closed in November 2012. The shelter reopened a little more than a year later under new management. The Hospitality House is now operated by the Knox County Homeless Coalition.
Stephanie Primm, executive director of the Hospitality House, said the former Hospitality House and current one have no connection because it now is operated by the Knox County Homeless Coalition with new board members.
Mank ran for the Maine House in 2012 and was at the center of two controversies. The issue of his residency arose because he had listed an apartment in Rockland as his residence, however, Mank acknowledged he lived with his family at the Mid-Coast Hospitality House in Rockport.
During the campaign, it became public that Mank was arrested in February 2008 in Farmington. He was charged with domestic violence assault against a 15-year-old male relative. Mank also was charged with assault for offensive physical contact with a girl who was 14 years old at the time.
In April 2008, Mank pleaded guilty to the assault against the teen girl in exchange for dismissal of the domestic violence charge. Under an agreement known as a deferred disposition, Mank also was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea to the assault charge after he adhered to special conditions over the next six months.
Mank lost the House race.