United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
KATHLEEN A. CLEMENT, Plaintiff
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF ERIE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
PARADISE BAXTER, United States Magistrate Judge
Kathleen A. Clement (“Plaintiff”) filed this
civil action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (“Title VII”) and
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann.
§ 951 et seq. Plaintiff alleges that she was
subject to an “offensively sexual hostile work
environment” and constructively discharged from her
position as a Facilitator of Religious Education Programs at
three parishes in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie. ECF No.
11. Plaintiff names as defendants to this action St. Joseph
and St. Michael the Archangel Parishes (the “Parish
Defendants”), and the Diocese of Erie (the
“Diocese”); and claims that each failed to
address ongoing inappropriate sexual conduct directed at her
by parish priest Fr. Daniel Kresinski.
Diocese and Parish Defendants have filed motions to dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. ECF No. 21; ECF No. 22. The Diocese
contends that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against
it because she has not alleged facts establishing that the
Diocese was her employer or that it employed Fr. Kresinski.
The Parish Defendants contend that because Plaintiff filed a
charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) identifying only the Diocese
as her employer, Plaintiff has failed to exhaust
administrative remedies against St. Joseph or St. Michael.
The motions have been fully briefed by the parties, and are
ripe for disposition. See ECF Nos. 32, 33, 47, 48.
For the following reasons, the motions are denied.
and Relevant Procedural History
Complaint alleges that after experiencing sexual harassment
and retaliation in the course of her employment, she filed a
timely charge with the EEOC and the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission (“PHRC”). The Diocese has
submitted a copy of the EEOC charge to the Court as an
exhibit to the motion to dismiss, and it has been reviewed by
the Court as a document forming an integral part of
Plaintiff's claim. ECF No. 21-1. Plaintiff's charge
identifies the Diocese as her Employer/Respondent, references
the Parish Defendants, and states as follows:
During my employment with Respondent, I was subjected to a
sexually hostile work environment based on my gender. In
March 2013, Fr. Daniel Kresinski became the parish priest at
St. Joseph Parish and St. Michael the Archangel Parish. When
I would meet with Fr. Kresinski in his office alone, he would
cup his hand under his scrotum and pull his scrotum up toward
his waist. He did this every time I had to meet with him
alone and would do it 6 or more times during each meeting. In
or about August 2013, I reported the sexual harassment to
Joseph Street, Respondent's Director of Religious
Education. Mr. Street did nothing to address my complaint and
advised me to “politely resign.” I then contacted
Monsignor Smith, Director Priest Personnel, and met with him
and Monsignor Kaza of St. Tobias, on September 24, 2013.
During that meeting, I advised Monsignor Smith that I could
not continue to work with Fr. Kresinski due to sexual
actions. At the meeting, Monsignor Smith told me I was
creditable. On October 1, 2013, Monsignor Smith met with Fr.
Kresinski, who admitted to touching himself in my presence.
Respondent did nothing to address Fr. Kresinski's
inappropriate sexual harassment and insisted that I continue
to work with him. I therefore was forced to tender my
resignation on October 3, 2013.
After I resigned, I contacted and met with … [Most
Reverend Lawrence T.] Persico, [Bishop of the Roman Catholic
Diocese of Erie]. Bishop Persico indicated that he did not
want me to go to the press with my complaint and asked me to
sign a non-disclosure statement.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that “the EEOC issued a
Determination that there is reasonable cause to believe that
Defendants are an integrated enterprise/single employer and
that Plaintiff was sexually harassed and constructively
discharged.” ECF No. 11, p.2. Plaintiff timely filed
the instant action after receipt of the agency Notification
support of her claims against the Diocese as her
“employer, ” Plaintiff's Complaint alleges
facts indicating the supervisory involvement of Diocesan
personnel investigating her sexual harassment claims.
Plaintiff further alleges facts suggesting the unified
operation of the Diocese and its parishes as a “single
employer.” In particular, Plaintiff alleges:
Defendants have a high degree of operational entanglement
Defendants have unity with respect to ownership, management
and business functions because, among other things:
a. Clement's supervisory chain of command was split
between Fr. Daniel Kresinski (the parish priest at Defendant
St. Michael and Defendant St. Joseph) and Joseph Street (the
Director of Religious Education at Defendant Diocese);
b. Defendant Diocese indicated that it properly had control
over both Fr. Kresinski and the handling of Clement's
complaint of sexual harassment;
c. Defendant Diocese owns all of the physical property and
buildings of its parishes, including Defendant St. Joseph ...