Updated November 23, 2021 - 8:43 pm
Dave Marlon is stepping down as CEO of CrossRoads of Southern Nevada after a woman accused him of sexually abusing, harassing and threatening her for months while they worked together.
Marlon confirmed he resigned in a text message Tuesday night. His decision comes after the Review-Journal reported the allegations detailed in a 40-page lawsuit filed last week.
Marlon said he remains emphatic that the accusations are false and part of an extortion plot.
The 44-year-old woman, identified under the fictitious name “Gahyne Doahe,” said Marlon began harassing her in April 2021, on her first day of work. She had been hired as his assistant and said she had previously met him through his family member.
Throughout her employment, she endured “numerous acts of sexual violence, physical violence, mental torture, harassment, humiliation, retaliation, threats, and fear,” attorney Jenny Foley wrote in the document.
Marlon, 57, a prominent substance abuse counselor in the community, vehemently denied everything in an interview with the Review-Journal last week.
“Her lawsuit is a fabrication, texts and all, and the sole purpose is for extortion,” said Marlon, who filed a lawsuit against his accuser on Nov. 14. “I‘m grateful that we have courts and we have juries that help separate truth from fiction and that we’re going to go through that process.”
The woman’s filing contains multiple allegations of graphic sexual language in texts, including a message that the woman “came dangerously close to being brutally raped with your face pushed into the desk on your first day of work.”
Also detailed in the complaint is an alleged “contract” signed by Marlon and his accuser, laying out that the woman “craves discipline and punishment” and “welcomes integration of work and mental games.”
The text messages were quoted in court documents and shared with the Review-Journal, which is not identifying her because she claims she is a rape victim.
The day before his accuser filed suit, Marlon filed a lawsuit against her after mediation talks broke down. Because Marlon’s complaint is sealed, his attorney, Dominic Gentile, said they could not elaborate on their extortion claims.
In addition to Marlon, the woman’s filing names CrossRoads Chief Operation Officer and Vegas Stronger board member John Seeland and Marlon’s other businesses: the nonprofit Vegas Stronger, the Marlon Professional Corporation and Moorea Holdings, LLC. The company “Big E” is also a defendant.
CrossRoads is a local drug and alcohol treatment center that has contracts with Clark County to help the homeless.
In her lawsuit, the accuser alleges multiple rapes, including one on June 17. She subsequently filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed a police report. The Review-Journal requested the document, but Metro denied the request, saying it was an active investigation.
In the court filing, the woman alleges that Seeland and others involved in the corporations were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
“That was a very helpless feeling,” she said in an interview Thursday. “I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least do what I could do to try to stop another girl going through the hell that I went through.”
Punishment at work
In court documents, the woman alleges that Marlon demanded she purchase certain clothing, sex toys and shoes, for which he reimbursed her.
The lawsuit states Marlon, who is married, has had extramarital affairs, which includes previous accusations of sexual harassment from his personal assistants. It also accuses him of continuing to abuse drugs despite his public persona as someone engaged in helping others with addiction recovery.
Marlon said he has been sober for nearly 17 years.
“That was preposterous,” he said. “I wholeheartedly unequivocally deny that, as well as most of the other things that she’s alleging.”
Marlon added that he never had sex with the woman and said she is a long-term meth user.
“People who aren’t ready to commit to getting clean defend their addiction by striking back at the people who are trying to help them,” he said. “Unfortunately, that is an underlying driver of what’s going on here.”
The woman told the Review-Journal she has not used meth or any illegal drug in five years.
She first began working for Marlon on April 19, shortly after she asked him for a job. At the time, she was recently divorced and had been laid off because of the pandemic. She had previously been a patient at CrossRoads and was about 16 months sober.
The filing states that soon after her start date, the woman was instructed to “assume the position,” at least once a day. That meant posing with her legs shoulder-width apart and her hands on a desk, table or wall.
Marlon first struck the woman on the behind with his hand but advanced to riding crops and a paddle with raised lettering that would bruise the word “slut” or “whore” onto her, according to the complaint.
The document alleges that in one instance on June 15, Marlon used a riding crop to beat her while his microphone and video were turned off during a Zoom meeting for the Southern Nevada Association of Addiction Professionals.
Marlon had also texted the woman that “the severity of repeated punishments will be determined by obedience,” the record states.
An alleged relationship contract
Marlon’s accuser in the court filing describes a specific assault when she tried to pull away because of physical pain she was experiencing.
“In response, Marlon grabbed Plaintiff and choked her, telling her that if she ever tried to resist him again, he would choke her to unconsciousness and then kick her after she fell to the floor,” her attorney wrote.
The woman then became increasingly afraid for her job and safety, the document states.
The contract agreement they both signed had included a clause that if she wants to stop, their relationship will become solely a work relationship — but her requests for that were unacknowledged, according to the court records.
The complaint states that the final sentence in the agreement reads, “We both understand that disclosure will cause other significant pain and trouble and neither wants that to ever happen, ever.”
The woman said she lives in fear and briefly relapsed by drinking alcohol in October because of the trauma of meeting with Marlon and his attorney during mediations but has since remained sober.
“This affected my health, my mental well-being and ultimately my sobriety that I was so proud of having achieved,” she said. “It’s something that I can’t close out of my head.”
Marlon’s ties to Las Vegas
Marlon has been in Las Vegas for more than 30 years. After struggling with substance abuse, he has managed treatment centers and counseled patients for 15 years.
He is also the president of the Southern Nevada Association of Addiction Professionals and has served on the governor’s Substance Abuse Working Group.
Marlon, who ran for Las Vegas City Council in 2019, previously was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence but was not convicted.
Since he took over as CEO of CrossRoads in 2020, he has negotiated numerous multimillion-dollar contracts and grants from Clark County.
Earlier this year, the county pledged to pay the center up to $3.7 million for shelter services and case management. Last year, it paid CrossRoads up to $1,875 per day per patient to house and treat COVID-19-positive homeless patients.
The most recent contract from Oct. 5 states the county will pay CrossRoads no more than $2.1 million for a crisis stabilization and supportive housing program.
Vegas Stronger is a nonprofit founded in 2019 by Marlon, Seeland and Tom Skancke that works with community partners to provide social services to those suffering from homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse. Each month, Marlon visits those living in the Las Vegas drainage tunnels with a backpack full of supplies, including food, water and Narcan.
Briana Erickson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on Twitter.