DENVER (CBS4) – Former employees of Denver oil executive Jack Grynberg are coming forward with accusations of sexual harassment and assault claiming he acted inappropriately several times toward them between 2015 and 2016, their attorney confirmed to CBS4 on Sunday.
“They were concerned for the most part in speaking up but there is power in numbers,” said Elwyn Schaefer, attorney to three women accusing their former boss.
Schaefer explains he was first approached by Candice Smith in September of 2016 about her interaction with Grynberg while at Grynberg Petroleum. Smith claims she was sexually assaulted several times. Schaefer would later learn about other women including Roxanne Alvarez, who claims Grynberg groped her in an underground parking lot. Maxine Yzaguirre is the third woman represented by Schaefer and says Grynberg tried to kiss her. A fourth woman, Suzanne Greene, is not part of a lawsuit but also contacted Schaefer to support the women’s claims explaining that 40 years ago she found Grynberg to be aggressive toward her as an employee.
“Hopefully they can at some point overcome the trauma of being dominated by a very wealthy, powerful man,” Schaefer told CBS4 over the phone.
The case against Grynberg is the latest major accusation against a powerful individual in Denver. Recent local cases are among many more across the country. Victims sharing their stories are often empowered by the new support around the #MeToo movement.
“We want to encourage people to come forward if they have been the victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment,” said CBS4 Legal Analyst Karen Steinhauser.
The number of cases in the public spotlight has also brought attention to the inability to prosecute some of them because of the statute of limitations. The law is designed to also help those accused of defending themselves, which becomes more difficult over time. Sexual offenses remain one of the most underreported crimes in the country.
“Often times it is one person’s word against another and that doesn’t mean we should dismiss it,” said Steinhauser. “Just because prosecutors decide at one point that they don’t have enough at that time, that doesn’t mean that a case can’t be reopened.”
One of the women accusing Grynberg of sexual assault tried to pursue criminal charges in December 2016. But in March the Denver District Attorney dropped the case, citing a lack of evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Schaefer says that in this new case he hopes to pursue monetary damages that will help the women find closure. He acknowledges the recent string of cases catching the public’s attention has helped victims to come forward.
“I mean, it’s unbelievable to me every day these well-known people in show business, in politics are revealed for being the, for one of the better word, the monsters that they are,” said Schaefer. “Sexual predators using their power to assert sexual dominance over subordinates.”
Jack Grynberg spoke briefly to CBS4 over the phone Sunday discrediting the story of one of the accusers and their attorney. He said he was out of town at a conference and did not speak to any other aspects of the case. One of Grynberg’s attorneys declined to comment.