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A customer of Great Lake Crossing mall is suing its owner alleging she remains banned from entering the shopping center after refusing the sexual advances of one of its security guards.

The woman, a 25-year-old resident of Lapeer County, alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court that she had been a weekly mall patron since 2015 and although she was cognitively impaired, was able to enjoy independence and driving to and from the center.

However in 2017, three security guards employed by mall owner Taubman Company approached her, at first in a friendly manner that shifted to overtly sexual remarks, according to the lawsuit.

The woman invited one of the guards to her home after being encouraged by the other two guards but refused the man's sexual advances, the lawsuit alleges.

Around January 2018, the victim confronted the two guards she regarded as friends to express her disapproval about what had happened with the third guard, according to the complaint.

After that, the suit says, one of the security guards told employees at Zales the woman was "mentally disabled" and that the next time she came into the jewelry store, they should call security so she could be banned from the mall for one year.

The next time the woman visited Zales, an employee called security as instructed by the guard and completed a report that security used to issue a written “trespass ban" alleging disorderly conduct, according to the suit.

"(She) was devastated by the ban and did not understand why people she thought were her friends would forbid her from one of her favorite places," the lawsuit alleges.

The woman returned to the mall on March 25, 2018, and was confronted by mall security, who called the Auburn Hills police department, according to the complaint. The police took the woman into custody and issued her a misdemeanor trespass ticket and summons to appear in court.

The woman returned to the mall again on April 21 and May 21, 2018, and mall security contacted police, who placed her under arrest for trespassing, according to the suit. 

The woman's mother hired a lawyer, the prosecutor later determined she was not competent to stand trial and the case was dismissed.

However, the woman remains banned from the mall until May 2022, according to the suit.

Her attorney, Nicholas Roumel, said he has been trying to resolve the matter with mall officials to no avail. He also filed a complaint about the incident with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

"What broke it for us really was when we talked to the employees in the complaints and they were able to give us some background about why they did this," Roumel said.

"We asked why they asked security to remove our client from the store and they were being heavily pressured by the security people to remove our client."

Taubman attorney Andrew Conway said Friday he did not have any comment on the case.

The lawsuit alleges the company violated the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. Attorneys are seeking a jury trial and damages.

jchambers@detroitnews.com

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