Multiple people have complained against the man, attorneys claim
By Lynsi Burton, SeattlePI Updated 4:09 pm PDT, Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Editor’s note: SeattlePI is withholding the plaintiff’s name to protect her privacy.
After S.R. began working at Bellevue College in 2009, as a front desk representative for the Assistant Dean for Student Programs, she was promoted quickly from a summertime to a full-time worker, then a full-fledged personal assistant to the official.
Then the grooming began by former assistant dean Faisal Jaswal, attorneys claimed in a lawsuit filed last week. The 54-year-old gave her presents, asked her to drive him to work, discussed personal and sexual subjects with her, took her out to dinner and brought her on overnight “work” events.
In October 2010, the behavior developed into sexual abuse, which would persist for nearly six years and escalate to stalking, manipulation and frequent abuse, S.R. contends in the suit.
S.R. filed the suit against Bellevue College last week, claiming the school — and by extension, Washington state — fostered a hostile work environment by failing to protect S.R. from a man who’s been the subject of multiple sexual harassment complaints by students and employees.
S.R., now 29, has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old due to intellectual delays, according to the lawsuit. That made her ripe for manipulation, says her attorney, Julie Kays. And because S.R. was also a student, the school knew about her intellectual limitations, she added.
“When you have complaints swirling around and you place a vulnerable person in a position with him where he is a superior … it’s a recipe for disaster,” Kays said. “Given what they knew about [S.R.], given what they knew on the assistant dean, why on earth had they not done something sooner?”
Jaswal allegedly told S.R. that he would fire her if she were to report the sexual assault.
“Each time the intellectually disabled [S.R.] tried to extricate herself from Assistant Dean Jaswal’s sexual assault, he threatened her job,” the complaint reads. “He expressly told her, over and over again, ‘If you tell you will be fired.'”
That threat was very real to her, Kays said.
“He really manipulated her belief system to the point that she didn’t feel she could stand up for herself,” she added. “She didn’t know how to and she felt like she was trapped.”
Even before S.R. finally came forward herself, her co-workers banded together in 2014 or 2015 and told Bellevue College authorities they were concerned that Jaswal was taking advantage of her and acting inappropriately toward her. Other employees also reported concerns that he sexually harassed other students and employees, according to the lawsuit.
“This was the worst-kept secret in the department,” Kays said.
S.R. reported the abuse in August 2016. Since then, the attorneys say at least two more complaints surfaced against Jaswal for “inappropriate” conduct.
A 2017 Bellevue Police Department case remains open, the agency confirmed. But the incident report is not available for public viewing because it’s still under investigation.
However, S.R. petitioned for a domestic violence protection order against Jaswal last year, alleging he has threatened her life and physically harms her when she does something he doesn’t like. She also contended that he threatened to force her into prostitution and kill female relatives of hers.
He forced her to wear a dog collar and leash, moved into the apartment above hers and raped her multiple times a day, she claimed. She also said he stalked her, monitoring her social media accounts and tracking her whereabouts.
“Fear of losing my job was the only reason I had sex with Mr. Jaswal,” she wrote.
In response to the protection order, Jaswal was forced to surrender his five firearms, court records show.
An attorney for Jaswal listed on the protection order did not immediately respond to requests for comment from SeattlePI.
Jaswal no longer works at Bellevue College. A statement from the college said it had “removed” him; S.R.’s attorneys claim he was placed on paid administrative leave after S.R.’s report and that he was allowed to retire months later. A state employee salary database indicates Jaswal was slated to make $100,300 in 2017.
The Bellevue College statement, while declining to comment on the lawsuit itself, also indicated it hired an “independent investigator” to review sexual harassment and misconduct reports against Jaswal.