Woman sues Schwan’s Co. and ex-driver convicted of Mendocino County sex assault
A woman is suing the frozen food delivery giant Schwan’s Co. that employed a driver convicted of sexually assaulting her in one of the corporation’s yellow refrigerator trucks by the side of Highway 101 near Hopland in Mendocino County where she was stranded with a flat tire.
The 22-year-old plaintiff filed the civil complaint in Sonoma County Superior Court claiming Schwan’s is responsible for an employee’s behavior and failed to uncover what she alleges is a history of improper behavior at previous jobs when it hired the driver, Alex Greene, said her attorney Alison Gokal.
The lawsuit also names Greene, 38, of Kelseyville, who was released from prison in September after serving a two-year prison term for forcing the woman into the cab of a company truck and kissing and groping her. He was convicted in Mendocino County and is currently on parole.
“Her goal is to prevent this from ever happening again,” Gokal said.
The woman, who grew up in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, said she initially trusted Greene when he pulled up behind her in a large box truck with the Schwan’s logo on March 7, 2016, and offered to change her tire. She spoke on condition of anonymity and is identified in court documents by the pseudonym Jane Doe. The Press Democrat typically does not identify victims of sexual assault who wish to remain anonymous.
“Who would think someone on the clock representing a business would do such a thing? He had a name tag on. He was uniformed,” said the woman, who now lives in Orange County and works as a fulltime nanny. “I felt much more comfortable with him than a random guy in a beat-up truck.”
In an interview Wednesday, Greene said he was wrongly accused and convicted, and he believes the CHP failed to properly investigate the allegations against him.
“That’s not what happened. I maintain my innocence,” Greene said. “And with the civil lawsuit, I’m being falsely accused again.”
The encounter occurred just before 11 a.m. March 7, 2016.
The woman’s Volvo got a flat tire after she hit a pothole heading north on Highway 101. She pulled over and parked at a turnout north of the green bridge south of Hopland.
Greene was heading south and made a U-turn when he saw the stranded driver. He changed the tire and made some sexual comments about her body and compared himself to the male character in the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” according to a copy of the CHP’s report provided to the Press Democrat.
At that point, his account of what happened and the woman’s diverge.
Greene told investigators the flirtation was mutual. But the woman was simultaneously sending text messages to her mother about his comments. That made her mother call 911, the CHP reported.
The woman told investigators Greene carried her against her will to the cab of his truck where he forcibly kissed and fondled her, according to the CHP report. She told investigators he took her keys but she was eventually able to get them back and drive away.
Greene was detained later that day and arrested.