A woman, who was sexually assaulted in her apartment in December 2012, has filed a lawsuit against her attacker and three companies. The victim, listed in court papers as Jane Doe, was attacked by James Helderle, a contract worker for Charter Communications.
Helderle had worked for Communications Unlimited Contracting Services Inc, a sub-contractor for Charter Communications, when he met Jane Doe while connecting her television with cable. Later that day, Helderle sent a text message to Jane Doe to see if she would go out on a date with him. She told friends about the text message and how it made her feel uncomfortable, after which one of them contacted the cable company.
Helderle was fired for violating company policy.
That night Helderle went to Jane Doe’s home and forced open the front door to her apartment. He then grabbed the woman by the neck, threw her to the ground, and then handcuffed her as well as tied her in a way that if she moved, she would strangle herself.
At some point during the sexual assault, Helderle told the woman that he knew she was the reason he had lost his job. Helderle’s assault was finally interrupted when police officers, who were called on the scene to investigate, knocked on Jane Doe’s apartment door. The request for a police check came from the victim’s boyfriend, who had been video-chatting with her, when police say Helderle broke into the victim’s home.
Helderle escaped when police arrived, however after a two hour manhunt, authorities were able to catch and bring Helderle into custody.
According to the lawsuit filed by Jane Doe, Charter Communications as well as two of its subcontractors – Broadband Infrastructure Connection and Communications Unlimited Contracting Services Inc. – failed to do a thorough background check on Hederle’s previous job experience.
According to the woman’s attorneys, Adam Goffstein and Joseph Taylor, all three of the companies named in the lawsuit had supervision and control of the hiring process for Helderle. However, the suit alleges that none of the companies bothered to check Helderle’s previous employers or personal references before hiring him nor do an adequate criminal background check.
Had any of the three companies bothered to do a background check, they would have found that Helderle had fabricated his job duties with multiple prior employers. A background check would have also pulled up Helderle’s social media accounts which would have allowed any of the companies to have seen posts on Helderle’s Facebook page that indicated that “suffered from extreme anger issues; that he was not afraid to die and even welcomed death; and that he sought physical fights with multiple people.”
Additionally, had they called one of his personal references, they may have learned that Helderle allegedly suffered mental and physical abuse from relatives and foster families. According to the lawsuit, that continual abuse made Helderle capable of violence particularly if he was not taking his antipsychotic medications.
The lawsuit also claims that she should have been warned when Helderle was fired.
“They pointed the finger right at her,” Goffstein said. “He had been inside of her home and knew the layout of her place, which was a factor when he broke in.”
The lawsuit is seeking a minimum of $250,000 in damages, however Goffstein said a specific amount had not been set.