Schwetz, who was named director of the zoo in 2012, has been accused of making other sexual advances against the man while intoxicated, a former UW-Madison assistant professor and orangutan researcher. The alleged assault occurred when the two were sharing a hotel room during a zoo convention in Seattle, according to a report from Seattle police and a civil lawsuit filed June 21 in King County, Washington.
The man told the police that he had agreed to share the room due to budget constraints, and thought it would be okay because he was in a committed relationship and Schweitz was married.
Brockmeyer has stated that “Schwetz strongly confirms that these allegations are false.”
The civil suit, which is still ongoing, alleges that Schweitz and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums discriminated against and retaliated against the man because he reported the sexual assault.
The AZA has said that the man’s claims against it “have no merit.”
In the suit, the man accuses Schwetz, AZA, and his board of saying derogatory things about him to his new employer, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Shortly after the comments were reportedly made, the man was fired and removed from the work of the AZA committee.
The man said he was waiting to come forward with the charges because Schweitz “controlled every aspect of my life,” including his employment and his visa. She said that Schweitz made it clear to her that if she ever told anyone about the alleged assault, “she could take away my job, my income, my hope, my relationships.”