Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Editorial by Jerry Pyette

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
Grand Tribunal
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.


Jerry Pyette

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.

Jerry Pyette
Montana Past State President and Agent of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles
Chinook, MT

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.


  1. I am not defending the manager. What he did was despicable but paying $193,000 out will be the end of the Eagles Club. I heard it is not covered by their insurance
    The award seems pretty excessive considering the whole Groven family couldn’t even come up with $193 if they pooled their money.

  2. Pyette makes a good point. Why is the manager still working at the Eagles?

    There must be more to this story we don't know

  3. We need to take a serious look at the activities of Groven and compel the wittedness to testify in behalf of justice. Knowing she was a stripper in the past, [Her own words] and from the tails that came from patrons at the Eagles I have to wonder how justified her complaint really is: If all is true and this judgment is allowed to stand it will do a lot of damage to future real victims.

  4. Perhaps the trustees should be questioned, as they were apparently aware of the situation and should have been aware of the liability this manager was causing, and may be continuing to cause.

    I would like to hear their side of the story, as it sounds to me if the Eagles folds, it was ultimately the trustees responsibility to look after the welfare of the establishment and the admiration the Eagles Organization has earned.

    It would be a tremendous loss to Havre to lose the Eagles, as the Vets has now closed, it is wedding season, and Havre also needs a place to host funeral receptions with a bar. This is not to mention the tremendous service projects the organization provides to the Havre community in addition to the facilities to help the community (Christmas and Thanksgiving community dinner?).

    Will this affect Eagles Manor?

    I also cannot understand the point of the other posters making nasty personal comments regarding the victim and her family, after the manager PLED GUILTY to the CRIME.

  5. I was not saying what the manager did was right or that Groven didn’t have a case Deconstructer. I just think part of the drive in this complaint was to hold the Eagles up for some easy cash rather than just get justice for Groven.
    If they only wanted justice they wouldn’t be filing a civil suit also. This is all about screwing someone over for some lotto easy reward income

  6. There must be more to this story or the manager would be fired. Why are the Havre Eagles people being so quiet about this? Tell us the whole story

  7. It all sounds pretty bizarre, but this sounds like it was so far over the line that there was no doubt about guilt.

  8. DeConstructor - we do still have the Elks lodge with a full bar and plenty of room for all occasions. Really great place to be.

  9. let it go. keep the place open. the rest of the story? too bad we have this test. drive that does cloud all of our judgement at times.

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  11. This is a terrible. The man should not even be allowed to set foot in the Eagles Club. In the handbook it states clearly that "actions unbecoming an Eagle will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the club, both as a member and a patron" If this isn't actions "unbecoming" a member, then I don't know what is! This man is a time bomb ticking. Trouble waiting to happen for sure. He has been heard making perverted comments about younger girls at functions at the club as well, in particular a gymnastics recital with 5 to 13 year old girls in leotards doing routines. He was saying how he should keep a roll of quarters in his pocket so he can pass them out so the girls can "call him when they are older" The only reason he is still in the club is because he "runs" it. He hand picks his trustees, his employees, he even makes it uncomfortable for patrons he doesn't want around. The man lives in that bar. He is in there from 7AM till 2PM, only leaving to go to the bank, and taking lunch or dinner breaks. Sad how this has gotten to be such a problem that is unfixable by any local patrons. The Grand Aries should have come down immediately and removed him, and anybody else that was not attending to the problem as soon as it was brought to their attention. He pled GUILTY, these are not false accusations!

  12. Farnhams lawyer must have missed a bunch of defense points to lose with this big of reward to groven.

    Maybe Farnham should appeal with a new attorney?

    or maybe he is guilty as hell and deserves what he got?

  13. Pretty easy to lose when the Judge calls you a liar, and says that everthing that came out of his mouth was a lie! “This testimony is patently false”

    Correction on my previous post..... 7AM to 2AM is what I ment.

  14. I can't believe the things that are happening in this country. This should be seen as a victory except the man should no longer be allowed to work there. What difference does it make how much money the family has? Why does it matter the she used to be a stripped. Even strippers don't get groped. I am sure they are following the advice of their lawyer. Kayce did not deserve to be treated that way. No woman does. Should we plan to be sexually harrassed and buy extra insurance for it just like some states are suggesting for women who may be raped and prefer not to carry her rapist's child?

  15. I can't understand what is going on today. This case was not about. Kayce being a stripped or how much money her family has. This is about a man who believes he has the right to fondle an employee. The laws of this country state otherwise. Kayce did not deserve to be treated lime this. No woman does. Should we start buying insurance for this in case we have to leave our hostile work environments because no one will do anything about it? Some states are suggeating that women should buy extra health insurance for abortions in preparation for being raped. Both of these scenarios are ridiculous. This man should no longer be working at the Eagles.

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  18. To clarify a point, KayCee Groven has NEVER been a stripper ... NEVER!!! Other girls employed by Farnham have but NEVER KayCee. Anyone cango to web site erd.dli.mt.gov/human-rights/complaintprocess/decisions and read the entire decision made with all the details. KayCee worked hard at and for that club. The eagles need to evaluate what they have going on there before they have even bigger problems on their hands