Corrector Editor's note;
The following information has been submitted to the Havre Daily Corrector as an editorial by Jerry Pyette - Montana Past State President and Agent of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. The Havre Daily “News” refused to print Mr. Pyette’s letter to the editor he has asked that we publish it here.
Here it is exactly as submitted to the Corrector
I recently submitted a letter to the editor of the Havre Daily news that was not published. Although the primary purpose of the letter was to apologize to Kayce Groven, not only for the lack of action taken by the Eagles Aerie 166 in addressing the abuse she had suffered at the hands of its manager, but, by being the agent appointed to resolve the issue, not being able to help her as much or as quickly as I would have liked. I believed all along that the Grand Aerie would rectify a situation that was in complete disregard of the Organization’s constitution and that the Havre Chapter, Aerie 166, would do the right thing by terminating the employment of the manager. Fortunately, The Montana Department of Labor and Industry did do the right thing. After hearing the testimony of both Kayce Groven, the accused manager Thomas Farnham, and 15 other witnesses, the Hearings Officer, Gregory Hanchett found for Ms. Groven and awarded her over $193,000. Hanchett wrote that the testimony given by Ms. Groven was “entirely credible” and was supported by other witnesses. Farnham’s testimony, on the other hand, was found by Hanchett, to be not only “not credible” but “patently false”. He found the evidence of harassment “overwhelming” and stated that it would be “preposterous” for the Eagles Club to argue that Farnham did not create a sexually hostile environment for Groven in his repeated grabbing of her breasts, buttocks and crotch, his inappropriate sexual comments and in his unwelcome attempts to hug and kiss her. Hanchett found that Farnham’s actions included numerous sexual assaults.
In light of the very appropriate decision rendered by the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and the fact that Mr. Farnham pled guilty to sexually assaulting Ms. Groven in October 2009 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the Havre Eagles Club needs to respect the decisions of the higher courts and do more than give Mr. Farnham a slap on the wrist. The Club is, in fact, rewarding him for his contemptible behavior by continuing his employment and allowing him to remain an active member of the Organization. The entirety of their discipline thus far has been to give him a written disciplinary warning in September 2009 and in March of 2010, when the National Eagles Organization became involved, to fire him but to turn around and rehire him in May of 2010 when the attention had died down. Ms. Groven repeatedly protested to officers and trustees of the Havre Club and they took no steps to control Mr. Farnham’s behavior other than the minor punishments stated above.
I have recently implored the Grand Tribunal to take action with the following letter:
April 14, 2011
Tom Cartwright Justice
1623 Gateway Circle South
Grove City, Ohio 43123
Enclosed are articles that were printed in the newspapers. This is what happens when nothing is done by the Grand Aerie to rectify a complete disregard by Havre #166 of the constitution. Sections 39.4 (a,b,c) and 63.2 (c).
At the very least, the Grand Aerie needs to:
1. Reopen the case against Havre, MT Aerie #166
2. Suspend or revoke the charter of Aerie #166
3. Remove all present officers, with no exceptions.
4. Expel Thomas Farnham from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of this case as there is also a civil case pending.
To Justice Schliske, my apologies for not letting you come to Havre. My mistake. I was informed that Havre people were going to make a circus show of it. I did not believe you, Sir, should be subjected to this kind of behavior. I also believed that this was an open and shut case, and I am sure you would have agreed. I had no idea that after a couple of months they would do exactly as they wanted, in disregard of the constitution.
My unpublished letter to the Havre Daily News reads as follows:
Letter to the Editor-------------
April 12, 2011
For those of you who read the Great Falls Tribune dated April 12, 2011, there is a very interesting story in the Montana section of the newspaper. It reads “Havre Woman Awarded $193,000 After Sexual Harassment”.
Congratulations to Kayce Groven and her mom for their persistence in this matter. I wish I could have done more. I did explain that the wheels of justice turn very slowly whether in the legal system or the Eagles. In this case, the justice system wheels finally turned. It yet remains to be seen in the Eagles system, but do not lose faith in that system either, I haven’t. Again, congratulations and good luck.
Montana Past State President and Agent of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles
In closing, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry has supported Kayce Groven and awarded her appropriately. I hope that her community will support her as well and not reward the Havre Eagles Club for their unethical decisions.