A former housekeeper, acquitted this fall of raping a co-worker, has filed a grievance with the University demanding that the University reinstate him and pay him 14 months in back wages. Warren Timbers, who was dismissed from his position as a University housekeeper after being accused and arrested for raping a co-worker on August 26 of last year, said he filed the grievance last year but has had no response from the University. University officials were closed-mouthed this week about the filing of the grievance and the incident. University Labor Relations Director Jack Heuer and University Assistant General Counsel Neil Hamburg said yesterday they could not comment on the case. Hamburg cited the "employee-employer confidentiality" rule which prohibits the University from commenting on matters involving specific labor relations. And Heuer similarly refused to comment adding that he could not confirm "whether [Timbers] has filed a grievance or not." Timbers, 36, was arrested last August after being accused by a fellow housekeeper of raping her in a Hill House lounge during a work break. The North Philadelphian, who according to Philadelphia Police had a prior rape conviction, was arrested outside Hill House the same afternoon. Timbers discounted his prior conviction last week, saying that he "was only a teenager" when it happened. Timbers, who has maintained his innocence since his arrest, said this month that the University treated him unfairly from the beginning. · On August 26, the day of his arrest, Timbers says he was sent a letter by the University indicating that he was suspended from his position "pending a review" of the incident. Just four days later, the University issued another statement, Timber says, stating that he was "terminated as a result of [his] assault on a University employee that took place in a University building." Timbers contends that the University unfairly terminated his employment without ever having questioned him about the incident. "I was incarcerated [during the time of the University's review]," Timbers contends. "I didn't get out until September 10." "They didn't even talk to me," he said, adding that he received a letter from the University notifying him of the decision. And Timbers says the University review found him guilty of an "assault," but after he was found not guilty of the crime by a criminal court, the University changed the reason for his dismissal. Timbers says the University now contends he was fired for having had sex on the job, something he says he did not admit to until the September 1992 trial. · Timbers's version of the incident last August 26 is very different from the one printed in local papers during the time of the incident. Police told The Daily Pennsylvanian at the time of the arrest that Timbers raped the woman and then was unable to leave the room because the door was stuck. After a fellow worker pried the door open, Timbers fled, police say, and was finally caught outside Hill House. But Timbers tells a different story. He and the 37-year-old woman were relaxing in a Hill House lounge after completing the morning's work, he recalls, when he nodded off. Timbers said he awoke to find the woman lying next to him on the couch in the lounge, he said. According to Timbers, he told the woman that "there wasn't enough room on the couch" for both of them and that she should get up, but, instead, the woman began to undress in front of him and pulled him towards her. He and the woman began having sex, Timbers said. He got up to close the lounge door so that no one would walk in on the two, but another housekeeper interrupted them, he said. He said that after being interrupted, he went out of the building to get lunch and when he returned, he was arrested by Philadelphia Police. He said he believes the woman accused him of rape because "she is white and I'm black." The woman, according to Timbers, is still on the University payroll. · But Timbers has been unemployed since the incident. Burton Rose, Timbers' lawyer during the trial, said last week, "I think it is only right that the man be reinstated with back pay." Timbers said his union, Teamster's Local 115, initially tried to convince him not to file the grievance. A union official last night refused to comment on the case. But, having been unable to find another job, Timbers says that he is desperate and has faced one crisis after another since the incident. Timbers said he has been unable to pay for his son's treatment for sickle cell anemia, a genetic blood disease. "What the University should have done is to hire me back [after the trial], pay me my back pay and then fire me," Timbers said. Timbers accuses the University of stalling, adding that after his unemployment benefits run out in April, he will be left with no income. Medical bills for his son have been piling up, Timbers added, saying that he is a single parent trying to raise a young son. Zemoria Brandon, executive director of the Sickle Cell Genetic Disease Council, said last night that she knows Timbers from his visits with his son to her organization. Timbers is "a concerned and responsible father caring for this child who has the sickle cell disease," Brandon said. "He is the victim of circumstance on this occasion. He is running into a lot of obstacles." "He is a very loving father," she added. "He is a single parent -- that speaks for itself." "It's important he get his job back so that he can take care of his son," Brandon stressed. "I hope the University will be fair and do the right thing." Penn's Women Center Director Elena Dilapi said last night that, while she is not familiar with the specifics of the case, women who accuse men of rape generally tell the truth. She said the fact that Timbers was acquitted by a jury means little, adding that rape victims seldom get justice.Comments powered by Disqus
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