Until recently, Lisa Schroeder was working at the Fergus Falls Veterans Home as a nursing assistant. She was forced to quit, her attorney says, after enduring years of sexual harassment, stalking, and physical threats from a fellow nurse.
Sean McKeag, a fellow nurse, is accused of first trying to date Schroeder, 42. When she told him that she just wanted to be friends, McKeag totally lost it, according to a lawsuit Schroeder filed last month. He called her a whore, threatened to kill himself if she didn’t return his affections, told her she was the “object of my obsession” as well as a “crazy, evil bitch,” the suit says. He’d slap her butt, follow her into residents’ rooms and just stand there, staring at her.
Schroeder received texts from McKeag saying, “Fuck you evil, lying, nasty, hobag bitch,” and “Keep prancing around like the devils angel you are.”
When Schroeder ignored or rejected him, he physically blocked her from exits, punched walls, screamed, and threw things, including once shattering a phone against a wall, according to the complaint.
Other female employees came forward to back Schroeder’s claims, saying that McKeag smacked their butts too, and corroborating that he’d yell at Schroeder in front of residents and staff alike, calling her a slut and accusing her of having affairs with everyone who works at the Veterans Home.
According to the lawsuit, Schroeder and the other employees once told police that they worried McKeag was a bomb ready to go off. He's accused of sending a threatening text to one woman telling her to keep her head down and her mouth shut if she knew what was good for her, and threatening to bring a gun to work and “take some motherfuckers out.”
A number of employees said they were scared for the veterans living in the home, according to the suit. They threatened to quit if McKeag wasn’t fired.
But according to the lawsuit, the management of the Veterans Home took McKeag’s side by virtue of doing almost nothing to reel him in.
Schroeder went out of her way to dodge McKeag at work, regularly walking around the entire building in order to avoid him. She obtained a restraining order and made countless complaints to HR, Director of Nursing Teresa Platz, Supervisor Aggie Stueve, and Administrator John Skillingstad.
The bosses allegedly told Schroeder that they couldn’t enforce her restraining order in the workplace, and that it was just her word against McKeag’s. They accused her of gossiping about him.
McKeag could not be reached for comment. A Veterans Home spokeswoman confirmed that he is no longer employed as of last August.
Schroeder's lawyer Lori Peterson says McKeag resigned on his own.
Larry Shellito, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, declined to comment on ongoing litigation. He said in a statement, “We have zero tolerance for harassing behavior of any kind," he said in a statement. "I can assure you that we take all allegations seriously and address them immediately. The Fergus Falls Veterans Home truly is a ‘home’ for our Residents, and the staff have created an environment that is comfortable and welcoming. I’m proud of all they do."
Public court records show that McKeag has a history of violence. In 2008, he was charged with fifth-degree assault, later remanded to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He picked up two more convictions in 2010 and 2013 for misdemeanor disorderly conduct (brawling or fighting), and in 2012 he was convicted of obstructing justice and interfering with a police officer.
Schroeder has only a couple traffic violations on her record.