DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Multiple former employees of The Buffalo Exchange clothing stores in Colorado have filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging former owner Todd Colletti sexually and verbally assaulted them for nearly a decade. Three women and one man have filed the lawsuit in Denver District Court accusing Colletti and Buffalo Exchange’s corporate offices of allowing, aiding and abetting an abusive work environment.
Former employees Alex Myers, Alyssa Detert, Amanda Pruess and Clara Pruess accused Colletti of causing injuries like mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, humiliation and impairment of quality of life following alleged incidents of sexual assault.READ MORE: 50% Of Coloradans Fully Vaccinated Against COVID, Hospitalizations Reach Lowest Level Since October
The plaintiffs said the clothing re-sale locations in Denver and Boulder were nothing but a mask for Colletti’s history of verbal and sexual abuse of employees.
The employees said Colletti often hosted drug and alcohol-infused parties in the basement of his Denver store, where they claim he would make unwanted advances on his staff.
“I was assaulted, harassed and belittled by Patrick Todd Colletti,” Detert said.
“There were naked pictures of ex-employees hung all over the basement (of the store),” Amanda Pruess said. “(Photos showed) girls with half-closed eyes and shirts pulled up awkwardly.”
Other staff members accused Colletti of making sexual advances at them during the workday, including a time an employee allegedly had a bucket of water thrown on them while wearing a white shirt. Employees said they were told they were stupid or prude when they didn’t play along with Colletti.
“On my first day he referred to having a threesome with my sister and I,” Clara Pruess said.
Megan Parker, a former employee, said she was sexually assaulted by Colletti during a vulnerable time in her life. The statute of limitations has passed, so she could not be listed in the lawsuit. However, Parker said she was sexually assaulted after Colletti provided her with alcohol.
“Todd supplied me with alcohol, drove me to his home and sexually assaulted me,” Parker alleged.READ MORE: Audit Finds Colorado Program To Flag Opioid Abuse Is Failing, Dozens of Doctors Running 'Pill Mills'
Detert was one of the women who also accused Colletti of sexual assault while under the influence.
“I came to in the middle of the assault, and he told me to relax,” Detert said.
According to the lawyer, Ben Lebsack of Lowrey, Parady, Lebsack, the corporate offices of Buffalo Exchange neglected to act when the women brought forward their complaints.
“We know employees complained to Buffalo Exchange’s corporate offices about Mr. Colletti in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020,” Lebsack said. “Buffalo Exchange’s owners chose to do nothing in response to the complaints.”
Lebsack accused the company of fielding the complaints and passing them back to Colletti to handle himself. CBS4 tried to reach Colletti for comment on the accusations in 2020, but he did not respond.
CBS4’s Dillon Thomas reached out to the corporate offices of Buffalo Exchange for comment on the lawsuit and accusations made, however, they declined to interview. Instead, they issued the following statement:
“We cannot comment on a legal filing that we have not seen. The Colorado franchise stores were owned by Justin Van Houten, Kathy Plache and other investors. We did not have control over their business operations, hiring, employee documentation, or terminations, including access to employee records or paperwork such as exit interviews. We were not the employer of any of the individuals asserting claims.”
The Denver District Attorney’s Office told CBS4 they would not be filing criminal charges against Colletti, saying they felt they couldn’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.MORE NEWS: Sylvan Fire Grows To 3,300+ Acres In White River National Forest, With No Containment
If this civil case goes to trial, it could take place next spring or summer.