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COLUMN: Woman's sex toy, porn lawsuit heading from simmer to boil

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Betsy real busy following heavenly feature

By Ben Carlson

Column as I see ’em ...

Remember the sexual harassment lawsuit filed last year by a fired county employee who alleges she had a sex toy left on her desk and was shown pornography on a coworker’s computer?

Like the weather, that lawsuit is heating up and is likely headed for trial within the next several months.

What a Dumpster fire that’s going to be.

I spent several hours last week reading the woman’s deposition — 200-plus pages of innuendo, allegations and tawdry details about her time at the county highway facility and judge-executive’s office that would make the writer of even the most lurid soap opera blush.

After some careful consideration, I’ve opted not to share a blow-by-blow account of what she has to say. Although it is sworn testimony, it wasn’t given in court and I’d rather quote someone from the witness stand than someone sitting in the county attorney’s office making statements that aren’t subjected to cross-examination.

I’ll likely feel the same way when the depositions of the judge-executive and his employees are released within the next week or so, but reserve the right to read them first before making a final decision.

I will say that the woman is making allegations that, if true, are most disturbing.

Along with offering her version of a coworker in the judge’s office giving her a vibrator — at one point the attorney questioning her asked if she indeed rubbed the vibrator on a coworker’s head; she said no — and another inviting her to his desk to view a pornographic photo, she contends she was once exposed to a racial slur.

She further contends that multiple bills were not paid on time, resulting in the near cancellation of the county employees’ life insurance policy and the Internet connections for the sheriff’s office and South Anderson Water District being shut off due to non-payment.

If true, I’m guessing neither agency was particularly happy about that, especially the sheriff’s office which isn’t responsible for the bill but needs Internet access to perform many aspects of its duty.

Anyway, those truly motivated to read this sordid tale need only head to the circuit court clerk’s office and ask for Lea Beasmore’s deposition. You can stand there and read it for several hours, or pay $50 and get your own keepsake copy (copies cost a quarter a page, folks).

Speaking of a keepsake copy, it’s a safe bet that the owners of Heavens to Betsy will hang onto the feature article we ran last week about their Main Street bakery.

Written by Victoria Milam — one of the most self-assured people under the age of 25 on this planet — the feature chronicles a woman’s dream to open a New York-styled bakery and deli in Lawrenceburg, and the path she took to realize it.

From all reports, business at the bakery has been gangbusters since that feature story appeared, including that it nearly ran out of food over the weekend.

I share this information for two reasons: the first to explain how we select business articles, the other to remind you of the power of print.

Business features are among the trickiest things we do. Everyone’s business is special to them, but our job is to focus on businesses that are unique and, when we get time, to write about them.

Heavens to Betsy filled the unique portion of that bill very nicely because it’s the only actual bakery in town.

As for the power of print, the result of this feature article is the perfect antidote for those who insist that newspapers are dying and that, eventually, all news will be read online.

While it’s true that news and fast-food consumers are becoming more alike all the time — both want it fast and hot — online information will never hold the same prestige as it does on the printed page.

Most people would yawn at seeing themselves or friends on a website because most are already plastered all over Facebook and YouTube.

But when their achievements hit The Anderson News on Wednesday mornings, it’s a different feeling altogether.

That prestige goes well beyond news and features. During an interview with Charlie Cammack, the retiring president of LNB shared his thoughts on the relationship the bank and newspaper have shared through the decades, and why he always made sure LNB advertised so prominently on a regular basis.

He said if you want to be the dominant player in your business category, act like it. Buying a small ad when a competitor’s ad is much larger sends just the opposite message to customers.

Doing so isn’t cheap, but certainly pays dividends that far exceed the investment.

That was true in 1877 when the first edition of this paper hit newsstands, and it remains true today.

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.