AKRON — Several Akron Fright Fest employees have been fired after some visitors said they experienced a mock rape at the haunted house.
According to Jeremy Caudill, managing partner of Melanie Lake Inc. at Kim Tam Park, they have parted ways with the fright master and operater who provided and oversaw all the haunted house acts and activities at Akron Fright Fest.
Employees who worked in the area where the incident allegedly occurred have also been fired.
In a statement, Caudill said, “The safety and well being of everyone at our haunted houses – customers and employees – is our utmost priority. Our customers must trust that we will provide fun, thrilling and frightening entertainment in a safe environment.”
Some visitors claimed their experience inside the haunted house was a horrific one. One person, Ryan Carr of Akron, told FOX 8’s Dave Nethers he was visiting Fright Fest with his girlfriend when he was grabbed by an actor who came from under a bed.
“The only thing we saw walking past was a guy jumps out from under the bed and we said, ‘Hey, that’s neat,’ and then as I’m walking by the guy grabs me and throws me on the bed,” said Carr.
“My girlfriend walks over and says, ‘Hey, what are you doing? That’s my boyfriend,’ and he says, ‘Not anymore. He’s mine now; I’m going to rape him,’ and then he started thrusting against me and after like four seconds of that it was really awkward so I just like sat up and said, ‘I’m going to go now,’ and I left,” he added.
The experience is similar to that of a 16-year-old visitor.
Caudill said, “We would never knowingly put any of our customers in a mock rape situation. It isn’t right and it’s not what we stand for.”
He said they have hired someone who is a 40-year veteran in the haunted house business. Under the new operator, the following steps have also been taken:
• We have employed additional security and added monitoring systems in each of the haunted houses to provide an even safer experience for our customers and staffers.
• We continue to work out an arrangement with the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties to fundraise in their honor, and we plan to donate a portion of our proceeds over the next few weeks to that worthy organization.
Caudill said, “We look forward to getting back to the business of terrifying our customers – in a safe and fun setting.”