Jenny and I had a good nights sleep. I don’t think that I moved a bit. I was the first one up to be showered and dressed. I took the liberty of making breakfast for my expanding family.
We headed to KCC in two cars. Lorrie rode with Jenny while Vicky, Ching Lee and Marcy rode with me. We arrived twenty minutes early. The girls headed off to their classes and Jenny to the CT state police barracks.
The exterior of the new building looked finished. The contractor was leveling top soil and putting down sod. The masons were putting finishing touches on the brick walkway.
Inside, the connecting doors had been installed and the smell of fresh paint filled the building. The heat/AC units had been hooked up and were running on the heat cycle to help fast dry the paint. The carpet installers were putting down industrial grade carpet in 30 inch squares. We had paint and carpet glue smell to deal with today.
At five after eight Patti came in late again. She looked like she had been in a brawl over the weekend. She had on heavy makeup and one side of her face appeared to be swollen. When I looked at her she looked away and hurried to her desk. That problem was going to be solved or she would not be working in my department.
I made up my mind that after she finished payroll we would have that dreaded conversation. Payroll had to be done by 10 AM and put in SAP for everyone to be paid on Friday. While she was doing that I pulled up her personal folder to see if I could find out anything that would explain what was going on.
I called Jenny to see if she would run a background check for me. I hated to do it but I wanted all the information about Patti that I could find.
There were many legitimate reasons for her being bruised up but this was the second time that she had come to work like this and this time was far worse. She was even having trouble talking on the phone.
While I was waiting to hear back from Jenny I continued to work through my accumulated e-mails. HR was sending the folders over today of the people that had made the cut for the three new full time people we were to hire. For the three positions they wanted to interview eighteen candidates. Damn, they had tentatively scheduled the first interview for Wednesday morning with four a day. My week had just been overloaded.
I also needed to get started on finding the construction auditor that I needed. I still had not been able to talk to Jake about the qualities I should be looking in that type of position. I needed to move that to the front burner.
Luckily that train of thought was interrupted by the appearance of Jenny. She motioned me to the private office.
“Her file is clean, I mean squeaky clean, not even a drivers license. It looks like someone filled in the blanks on a form, it’s so clean. I’m trying to get school and college records to cross check them,” Jenny said.
“I have them here or should I say the ones that were submitted with the employment application. The lowest grade she received was a B+,” I said.
“Maybe that is the problem. She was a goody girl to keep Mom paying for her choice of college and has gone crazy with her new freedom now that she is out on her own,” Jenny said.
“As soon as she finishes up she and I will have the discussion. If you find out anything different than what you saw for her school grades let me know. This is one that I’m going to have to do alone,” I said. “I’ll keep you up to date.”
I sent Patti an IM telling her that we needed to talk as soon as she finished the important things.
HR has a standard form called Coaching/ Guidance/ Administrative discipline. I printed off several and started a folder while I was waiting. I also searched the security video of last Monday and printed off an enhanced head shot to document her face last week and did the same thing for this morning when she arrived for work. While comparing the photos, there was no doubt that her face was swollen.
As a sergeant I had done hundreds of this kind of consultations and they still bothered me. It bothered me more now because in the Marines they just went to the brig or extra duty; rarely were they discharged.
Patti still had many months of probation to go. Anything now would get her headed out the door.
It was an hour later that Patti came in and she was nervous. After I called one of the day personal and told then to take the calls, that we would be in a confidential meeting she was visibly shaken.
“Patti, we are going to talk off the record first, if that is OK with you?” I asked.
“Sure, that is fine,” she replied.
“Last week you came to work, your face was bruised but you were able to cover it with makeup. Today you are so bruised so bad that you are having trouble talking. I don’t think you are the type to be boxing, dirt bike riding or mountain climbing. Plain and simple, what is going on?” I asked. I wanted to say she looked like she was the victim of abuse but I was going to give her a chance to come clean.
Patti’s response was “It’s none of your business as long as I can do my job.”
“This is the Safety and Security Department; you behind the desk looking like that does not give the image of either one,” I said. “You do good work and get along great with the people here. I can’t imagine that happening and it being fun, you are in pain and it shows,” I said. ”You are my friend and work associate; there is nothing that we can’t talk about, and be open about. Don’t forget, I’ve been around the world, seen it all and probably done more than you can imagine, just so I could say that I had done it at least once. If there is a problem I can help you with it or know someone who can and you know that.”
Patti stared at me a long time without any expression. Then she looked down at the table before speaking.
She started “I put everything into doing well in high school and then college. I avoided the drugs, booze, parties and boys. I had made up my mind to wait on all the good times until I had graduated college. I did some girl on girl things to keep my sanity,” she said.
“My brother did just the opposite. He was in every trouble that he could find. He kept Mom and Dad at their wits end all the time. I was glad that I was in college and away from all the turmoil. Cocaine killed him during my senior year. It destroyed my folks; the calls and letters stopped, the money stopped. I used the last of my savings to make it through the last month of college. When I went home the house was empty, no notes, no addresses, no nothing.”
She said, “I got lucky and was offered the first job I applied for and that was here at the college. Because college had started there were no good rentals or apartments to be found. I ended up in the last one and a half room dump in 20 miles. I had to stay close; I have to walk or taxi to work.”
She said “A little over six weeks ago I met a young man named Stewart Coxwell. He seemed nice enough. He hit all my right buttons. I had sex with a man for the first time and realized what I had been missing all these years. I also found out I liked it a little rough as he called it. But something has happened in the last couple of weeks. A little rough has gone a lot rough and I can’t get him to back off.”
“He started taking pictures of me naked and tied up for his own use. I found out that this week while I was tied up and blindfolded, he was broadcasting video on the internet of me. That was on Saturday. When I objected he got mad. Somehow I ended up at the bottom of the steps. I don’t know if I was pushed or tripped on my own feet. That how I ended up with my face messed up.”
She said “He took care of me and everything and promised that the rough stuff was over. Then yesterday we went for a ride. He stopped at a shooting store to pick up some hunting stuffed he had ordered. He left his phone in the car. Being nosey I read his text. His text is in some kind of redneck slang but I think he and his buddies are planning to drug and gang bang me. There was a reference to some drug. I’m going to tell him tonight we are through. I put a clicker link on his phone so it would a copy of all his text and mails to me. I want to have fun but not be afraid. But now I am very afraid.”
“Do you have bruises anywhere else on your body?” I asked.
She looked down at the table and replied, “Yes, several places.”
“I know this is a lot to ask but for your own best interest I should take pictures of them in case you need to prove abuse at a later date. We need to get you out of this situation before it is too late,” I said.
“Yes, I know but I just don’t know what to do,” she said. “I’m not going home for lunch, just to make sure I don’t run into him.”
I sent a text to my family “Important family meeting and lunch from the Corner Street Deli send me your lunch request and I will have it here in time. If possible please be here”
“There are a couple of short term things that could be done. We could put you in a motel for a few days but you don’t have money for that. We could double you up with one of the students but that would only be good for a couple of days and both of these options are full of security holes,” I said. “With your permission let me relay your situation to some friends at lunch and I’m sure we can come up with a much better solution. Is that OK with you?” I asked.
“Anything you can do to help me out of this mess will be OK,” Patti said.
Edit by Alfmeister